It has been confirmed that Community Employment Schemes in Donegal and across the country will still face cuts to grants despite a review by the Government, according to Donegal Fianna Fáil Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill.
The Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has admitted to Fianna Fáil that the review of cuts she made in the Budget to CE Schemes will not result in a reversal of the cuts.
Fianna Fáil asked Minister Burton a series of questions about her ongoing review and in each written response she said: “A likely outcome of the review is that the schemes will no longer receive a standard grant per participant.”
Senator Ó Domhnaill said: “What is the point of having a review if it will still result in cuts to Community Employment schemes here in Donegal and across the country?
“Government TDs have been under considerable pressure to justify the decision to cut grants for their local CE scheme, at a time when providing job opportunities for the long-term unemployed should be top of the agenda. To deflect controversy the Government kicked the matter down the road by announcing a review of the cuts.”
The Senator said he always had concerns that this review was more about “optics” than anything else.
“Now we have firm indications from the Minister that this is indeed the case, before she has even completed her review. The Minister has confirmed that despite her ‘review’, grants for CE schemes will still be cut. She said there will be some discretion in respect of the training and materials grant this year but the onus is on individual schemes to make an appeal to the Department,” he said.
“It is now clear that Community Employment Schemes in Donegal will still be downgraded despite Minister Burton’s ‘review’. Community groups, the long-term unemployed and employers involved in CE Schemes are still in the dark about what these cuts will mean for them. It’s about time for the Minister to come clean on this issue and put an end to this farcical review,” said Senator Ó Domhnaill.