Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher has supported the proposals submitted by Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Employment Affairs and Social Protection Willie O’ Dea, to secure the viability of Community Employment Schemes into the future.
The document has been submitted to the Interdepartmental Group, which is examining the future of these schemes presently.
Pat the Cope said Fianna Fáil has always been a strong advocator and supporter of Community Employment Schemes.
He said “We recognise the valuable contributions that these schemes make in their local areas as well as the huge benefits that the participants themselves report. The positive impact of participating in a CE scheme cannot be overstated – from the confidence boost of learning new skills to the sense of belonging and community it brings.”
The Donegal TD said there are quite a number of people who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to work in the broader labour market, there are other people that are unable to travel long distances for work but CE schemes do offer them employment opportunities.
He aded “It is in these instances where CE schemes have made a real difference both for the individual and moreover for their respective communities. Sports clubs, childcare facilities, resource centres and Meals on Wheels services are often staffed by CE participants.
“I acknowledge the fact that the need for activation schemes has diminished over the past number of years, however, I believe it is important to protect the social inclusion element of CE schemes.
“It is also a reality that for the past 25 years or more CE schemes are carrying out work that otherwise would have to be done or paid for by other state agencies, local authorities and we all know perfectly well that funding does not exist to pay for these services added Pat the Cope.
Since their inception CE schemes have being filling gaps in services right across the board, and without CE support many of our voluntary groups simply would be unable to function- groups such as Local GAA Clubs, Tidy Town Committees, Parish Councils, supervising Community Halls and sporting facilities to mention a few.
He said Fianna Fáil is calling on the Inter-departmental group to consider the following points
– Keeping the Departmental responsibility for CE schemes within the Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection
– Ring-fencing funding and increasing the materials budget for CE schemes
– Adapting CE schemes in line with changes in economic performance
– Greater flexibility and a common sense approach to eligibility for schemes and how schemes are run.
– Addressing the pension issue for Supervisors and Assistant Supervisors.
Pat the Cope added the preservation of Community Employment Schemes is a key priority for Fianna Fáil.
“We believe that spending on CE schemes represents good value for money, and despite the higher employment figures, these schemes are still needed and no more so than in rural Ireland.
“CE schemes are performing invaluable roles in each of our communities at present and without CE schemes a lot of voluntary work in our communities would never end upconcludedne,” he conlcuded.Tags: