Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (2634)

Dara Calleary

Question:

2634. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the reason CSP cannot support persons over 66 years of age in a post; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33663/19]

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Written answers (Question to Rural)

The Community Services Programme (CSP) supports more than 400 community organisations to provide local services through a social enterprise model, with some €46m available under the programme in 2019.

CSP funding is provided as a fixed annual contribution to the cost of a manager and an agreed number of full-time equivalent positions. This contribution must be co-funded by the organisations concerned from other sources, for example, from income received from the public use of their facilities and services.

However, the CSP does not contribute to the cost of employing individuals once they reach 66 years of age and become eligible for the State Pension. In the context of limited CSP resources, the programme must focus on creating sustainable jobs for those most distant from the labour market, particularly for those who are long term unemployed and from specific target groups, rather than contributing indefinitely to the cost of employing persons beyond pensionable age.

That said, the internal operations of CSP supported organisations, including general employment issues relating to CSP supported posts, are solely matters for the boards of those organisations to manage as the respective employers. Accordingly, supported organisations may continue to employ persons once they reach 66 years, but the funds to do so must come from a non-CSP source.

My Department is currently undertaking a review of the CSP. While there are no immediate plans to change programme criteria pending completion of the review, the review will inform decisions on the future shape of the programme, including inter alia programme funding arrangements and age related eligibility criteria.

The review should be completed in early Autumn 2019.