Skip to main content
Normal View

Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 18 May 1993

Vol. 430 No. 8

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Community Employment Development Programme.

Tony Gregory


14 Mr. Gregory asked the Minister for Enterprise and Employment if he will give details of the progress of the CEDP; if all places approved by the Programme for Economic and Social Progress monitoring committee have been sanctioned; the plans, if any, he has to expand the scheme beyond the 12 partnership areas; and the manner in which the participants will be involved in the evaluation of the programme.

At the end of March, 1993, there were 3,098 people on the community employment development programme. There is no Programme for Economic and Social Progress monitoring committee for the programme. However, all projects under the social employment scheme and the community employment development programme must be approved by a national monitoring committee. The actual commencement of approved projects is then a day to day matter for FÁS in line with available funding.

With regard to an expansion of the programme, the Programme for a Partnership Government indicates that EC support for the programme will be sought in the context of the Community support framework over the period 1994 to 1999 with the aim of moving towards a participation level of 30,000.

The interim report to the central review committee on the evaluation of 12 pilot area-based partnerships in Ireland 1991-1992, carried out by the Combat Poverty Agency, forms the first stage in the evaluation of the CEDP. I have no doubt that the views of participants will be an essential part of the overall evaluation and development of the programme.

Are there any indications that European funding will be available for this programme? If not, will the scheme be expanded in any event and funded from the Exchequer? Has the Minister set a target for the scheme for this year? Has the target already been met? Does the Minister have a target for next year?

It is the Government's intention to try to persuade the European Commission of the value of this programme having regard to its focus upon the long term unemployed and the remit the Commission now has to combat what is referred to as social exclusion. Twelve area-based companies were established on a pilot basis for 12 months and the expiry date in regard to that is in September this year. I met yesterday with the chairpersons and the managers of the 12 companies. I indicated to them that it was the Government's decision to extend the operational remit of these 12 companies for three years up to 1996, independent of whether or not EC money is available. As to whether there would be an expansion either in the number of companies or in the operational area of the existing 12, that is a matter that is being considered and no decision has yet been made.

Does the Minister agree that there are already positive indications that, even given the limitations of this scheme, it has succeeded in attracting the long term unemployed and that demand for this programme already exceeds the places sanctioned so far? Will the Minister take steps to ensure that the training content in this programme is emphasised to ensure that the programme does not become a cheap labour scheme?

I concur with the Deputy's observation that the scheme has been very successful and is performing perhaps more successfully than many people envisaged. It is successful because there is a very good mix between training, social development, community focus and real or economically viable employment. The whole basis of the programme would be undermined if it were to become what the Deputy fears it might become, that is, some form of cheap labour. That is not the intention or the desire of the people who operate the programme or of my Department. I can assure the Deputy that will not happen. The programme certainly appears to be successful and we would hope to consolidate that success.