Written Answers. - Community Employment Schemes.

John Deasy

Ceist:

59 Mr. Deasy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if special needs class assistants employed under community employment schemes will be retained; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19328/03]

In line with a commitment in the PPF, and following consultations with relevant Departments and the social partners, certain schools services provided by participants on community employment, CE, have been mainstreamed. The mainstreaming of schools services provided for additional funding, representing 4,514 CE places in schools, to transfer to the Department of Education and Science on a phased basis by 2003. The availability of this funding has enabled that Department to put in place an equitable system of funding for ancillary services throughout the free education school system.

Participation on CE is usually for a period of one to three years and all school-based participants are being facilitated to complete their full engagement in their school project. However, CE participants are not being replaced in schools and the future provision of schools services, including special needs assistants for classrooms, is now a matter solely for the Department of Education and Science.

FÁS employment services are available to assist participants who have completed their term on CE to look for employment in the open labour market, or to advise on other options such as further education or training opportunities, which may be available locally.