Tús is a community work placement initiative aimed at providing short-term, quality work opportunities for those who are unemployed for more than 12 months. The scheme is delivered through Implementing Bodies (IBs), comprising 47 Local Development Companies and Údarás na Gaeltachta. Tús commenced operation in 2011 as a response to the high level of unemployment and the large numbers on the Live Register. As the economic recovery takes hold and the overall level of unemployment continues to fall, the Department recognises the need to adapt the Tús scheme to the changing circumstances, opportunities and needs of jobseekers.
There has been a 48% fall in the numbers on the Live Register who are more than 1 year unemployed in the five years since the end December 2012. Given the welcome improvements in the labour market in recent years with reducing numbers of long term unemployed on the Live Register, which is the target cohort for Tús, it is now considered necessary to reduce the number of Tús placements provided to reflect the reduced numbers of long-term unemployed and the reduced numbers on the scheme.
My Department has engaged with the Irish Local Development Network (ILDN) – the representative body for IBs to ensure that any impact will be managed in a positive manner. At present, Officials of my Department are engaging on an individual basis with each IB, including Donegal Local Development Company and Inishowen Development Partnership Company, to agree new Tús allocations and a revised funding structure. The Department is very conscious of the valuable contribution the Tús scheme is making in the provision of services to individuals and communities across Ireland. It is hoped that any adjustment in numbers is achieved in an orderly manner to minimise any disruption to all stakeholders.
I trust that this clarifies the matter for the deputy.