Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Social Employment Scheme.

17.

asked the Minister for Labour if he proposes to extend the operation of the social employment scheme in order to ensure that pockets of urban deprivation and high levels of unemployment can receive special assistance and attention from FÁS, to enable employment projects in those communities to be undertaken with the direct managerial assistance of FÁS; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

The regionalisation and decentralisation policy of FÁS should lead to a better spread of social employment scheme projects throughout the country and should allow increased attention to be paid to local problems and needs within a region.

The scheme is based on voluntary bodies and local authorities bringing forward and running projects to benefit their areas, including long term unemployed in the area. I would like to appeal to voluntary bodies to sponsor SES projects in areas of high unemployment. I would also appeal to the trade unions concerned to reconsider their opposition to Dublin Corporation becoming involved in the sponsoring of SES projects.

The precise location and size of projects are day to day matters of FÁS.

Has the Minister himself had any recent discussions with the trade unions regarding their objections to the social employment scheme projects in Dublin Corporation? If so, has there been any progress made?

I continually raise the issue but, I have to confess, with no great success. It is a matter which has annoyed me for a number of years. I cannot report success but I still endeavour to make some progress on the matter.