§ Mr. McDonnell
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to include Irish as a category in his Department's ethnic monitoring of staff recruitment. 
§ Mr. Meale
The over-riding principle of Civil Service recruitment procedures is that they should be fair, and selection should be on merit at each stage. Monitoring in this area is based on ethnic origin rather than nationality. The categories monitored by my Department are based on those used in the 1991 census, which did not include an Irish category. The categories will be reviewed in the light of any suggested changes for the 2001 Population Census.