Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Questions (595)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

595. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the position regarding the Gateway local authority labour activation scheme; if an appraisal of the scheme has been carried out by her Department; if it was fair that Gateway participants came off the scheme on a lower rate of social welfare and without their fuel allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41706/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Gateway Initiative was introduced in 2013 at a time of high unemployment in Ireland, with a target of 3,000 working opportunities.

The aim of Gateway was to improve the employability and work readiness of participants by providing them with the opportunities to put their work skills into practice and to learn new skills to enable them to progress to work, further education or other development opportunities.  Gateway provided work placements in Local Authorities for a period of 22 months for those who were unemployed for more than two years. 

Given the capacity of other employment schemes such as Community Employment (CE), Tús and the Rural Social Scheme (RSS), as well as the continuing reduction in the numbers who are unemployed, recruitment of participants to Gateway closed in December 2018.  During its lifetime the initiative supported 2,981 individuals.

A Gateway programme evaluation is currently in progress and I expect to receive the final report in due course.

My Department operates a range of social assistance payments that require the claimant to satisfy a means test.  The means test takes account of all income and assets belonging to the claimant, and those of his or her spouse/partner.  If the Deputy has a specific case in mind, the person concerned can contact their local Intreo Office and officials from my Department will re-examine the entitlement and rate of payment.