Town and Village Renewal Scheme

Ceisteanna (520)

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

520. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the number of applications received under the town and village renewal scheme for 2020; when decisions are expected to be made on the matter; if applications (details supplied) will be considered as part of this process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46568/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

The 2019 Town and Village Renewal Scheme was launched in April of this year.  There was a strong level of interest in the scheme and 309 applications in total were received for available funding of €15 million.

Unfortunately, it was not possible to support all of the applicants within the budget available.  However, on 31st October, I announced details of 156 projects that have been approved for funding of €15 million under the 2019 scheme.  

Applications in respect of the areas referred to by the Deputy were received under the scheme this year, but were not successful on this occasion.  However, they will have the option to revisit their applications and reapply for funding when the 2020 Town and Village Renewal Scheme is launched next year.

Departmental Advertising Campaigns

Ceisteanna (521)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

521. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the role his Department is playing in the winter ready campaign; the expenditure his Department will incur in this campaign; and the details of expenditure on external consultancy and advertising or communication. [46635/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

My Department is represented on the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning, which is chaired my colleague, the Minister of State at the Department of Defence.  In that context, my Department is participating in the work of the Task Force in relation to the Be Winter Ready campaign.  My Department will use its existing community networks to disseminate the Be Winter Ready message and help ensure that communities and individuals are ready for the Winter.

As my Department is not a lead Department for this year's campaign,  I do not envisage any direct expenditure by my Department on the 2019 Be Winter Ready campaign.

CLÁR Programme

Ceisteanna (522)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

522. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development his plans to extend CLÁR areas; the likely timescale for analysis of areas seeking to be included under the programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46650/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

The CLÁR programme provides funding for small scale infrastructural projects in disadvantaged rural areas that have experienced significant levels of de-population.   

The areas originally selected for inclusion in the programme in 2001 were those which suffered the greatest population decline from 1926 to 1996.  The Cooley Peninsula was also included on the basis of the serious difficulties caused in that area by Foot and Mouth disease. The average population loss in the original CLÁR areas over the period 1926 to 1996 was 50%.

In 2006, an analysis of the 2002 Census data was carried out by the NIRSA Institute at Maynooth University and the programme was extended to include areas with an average population loss of 35% between 1926 and 2002.  The analysis of the Census data was carried out at a District Electoral Division (DED) level and all areas designated as being 'CLÁR' areas are at DED level. 

As the Deputy will be aware, the CLÁR programme was closed for new applications in 2010.  However, I re-launched the programme in the second half of 2016, using as a base-line the areas identified in the work carried out by NIRSA in 2006. 

I have initiated a review of the CLÁR programme which will examine CLÁR areas by reference to the 2016 Census of Population data.  It will also consider whether there are any other factors that should be taken into account in designating areas for eligibility under CLÁR in the future.  My officials have been in contact with NIRSA to explore the most appropriate means of reviewing the CLAR areas based on the most recent Census data.

I envisage that a wider stakeholder consultation will also take place as part of the review.  Once completed, the review will help to inform the design of future CLÁR programmes and the areas covered.

Jobseeker's Benefit Eligibility

Ceisteanna (523)

Marc MacSharry

Ceist:

523. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when the provisions for the self-employed to have access to jobseeker's benefit will be enacted in view of the Social Welfare Act 2019 being signed on 24 October 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46013/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The provisions relating to the new scheme of jobseeker's benefit for the self-employed in the Social Welfare Act 2019 have been commenced and the scheme was introduced from 1 November 2019. The new scheme will support those who lose their self-employment and are covered by social insurance.

This new scheme builds on other significant improvements for self-employed people in recent years such as access to invalidity pension and treatment benefits in 2017 and are part of the Government’s stated aim of creating a supportive environment for entrepreneurship, including providing an income safety net to employees and the self-employed alike.  

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Pension Provisions

Ceisteanna (524)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

524. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a procedure will be established to enable an association (details supplied) make its case in view of it being enabled to do so due to the provisions of the Pensions Act 1990; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46028/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Deputy will appreciate that I cannot comment on issues relating to a particular pension scheme.

Scheme trustees have duties and responsibilities under trust law, under the Pensions 1990, as amended, and under other relevant legislation.  The duties of pension scheme trustees include administering the scheme in accordance with the law and the terms of the trust deed and scheme rules as well as ensuring compliance with the requirements that apply to these schemes.  Trustees must act in the best financial interest of all scheme members, whether active, deferred or retired, and must serve all beneficiaries of the scheme impartially.

Measures were introduced in 2015 to facilitate engagement between the trustees of a pension scheme and groups representing the interests of pensioner and deferred scheme members.  Changes to guidance issued by the Pensions Authority require the trustees of a pension scheme to notify groups representing the interest of scheme members of proposals to issue a direction under section 50 of the Pensions Act to restructure scheme benefits.  This affords the representative group an opportunity to make a submission to the trustees of a pension scheme in relation to proposals to restructure scheme benefits.  These changes facilitate engagement between groups representing the interests of pensioner and deferred scheme members and the Pension Authority and the trustees of a pension scheme.

Groups representing the interests of pensioners and deferred scheme members have a right to appeal a section 50 direction by the Pensions Authority to the High Court on a point of law.

While current legislation does not specifically provide that member trustees must include at least one or more members from each scheme membership cohort, namely active, deferred and pensioners, it does provide an opportunity for membership from each cohort and such members may avail of the opportunity to become scheme trustees or nominate others to act on their behalf.

The Pensions Authority is the regulatory body charged with the supervision of pension schemes and has the necessary powers under statute to investigate the conduct of a pension scheme should it become aware that a scheme is not in compliance with the provisions of the Pensions Act.  Where a pension scheme member is of the view that the scheme is not in compliance with legislative requirements he or she may make a formal complaint to the Pensions Authority.

Any questions relating to access to the State's industrial relations machinery is a matter for the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Appeals Delays

Ceisteanna (525)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

525. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a social welfare appeal lodged in July 2019 by a person (details supplied) will be expedited; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46064/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an Appeals Officer, having fully considered all of the available evidence, has decided to disallow the appeal of the person concerned by way of a summary decision.  The person concerned has been notified of the Appeals Officer’s decision.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

State Pensions Payments

Ceisteanna (526)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

526. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason the pension of a person (details supplied) was reduced; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46071/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

An increase for qualified adult (IQA) is a means-tested payment, payable to a State pension (contributory) claimants whose spouse, civil partner or cohabitant is being wholly or mainly maintained by them, and where that qualified adult’s personal means from any source does not exceed a means test income limit.  The person concerned is in receipt of IQA on their spouses state pension (contributory).

As part of my Department’s commitment to ensuring that claimants are receiving their full and correct entitlements, on-going reviews of means tested payment are carried out. 

Where a qualified adult has weekly means of less than €100, the maximum rate of IQA is payable.  Where their weekly means are between €100 and €310, a tapering reduced rate of IQA is payable.  If the qualified adult has means of more than €310 per week, this exceeds the means limit and there is no entitlement to an IQA payment.

As the qualified adult, the person concerned has been assessed with personal means of €234.00 per week derived from the capital value of their savings and shares. This gives an entitlement to a reduced weekly IQA payment with their spouse's State pension (contributory). The decision issued on 21 October 2019, and includes a breakdown of the means assessment, together with the right to seek a review of or appeal this decision.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Community Employment Schemes Supervisors

Ceisteanna (527)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

527. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to a Workplace Relations Commission, WRC, adjudication (details supplied); and if she will reply in the context of its impact on discussions within her Department in relation to pension provision for community employment supervisors. [46082/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Community Employment Scheme (CE) is an active labour market programme designed to provide eligible long-term unemployed people and other disadvantaged persons with an opportunity to engage in useful work within their communities on a temporary, fixed term basis.

The programme is delivered through independent Community Employment Sponsoring Bodies.  The contract agreement between the Department and the Community Employment Sponsoring Body establishes their role as an independent contractor, responsible for or all purposes and all persons recruited by them.

CE Supervisors have always been employees of Community Employment Sponsoring Bodies which operate in the community and voluntary sector.  The Community Employment Sponsoring Body receives public funding.

The Department received the Adjudication Officer’s Decision on Monday 4th November.  It is reviewing the Decision at present and is seeking legal advice on it.

As the Deputy will be aware, my Department is engaging with representatives of CE supervisors to discuss issues arising following the 2008 Labour Court Recommendation.  The details of the discussions have remained confidential while the engagement is ongoing and I would ask Deputies to respect these wishes and allow the talks to continue free from speculation which might prove unhelpful.

Departmental Reports

Ceisteanna (528)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

528. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number, date of publication and details of post-enactment reports published by her Department since March 2011, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46091/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

My Department has responsibility for the legislation underpinning the social welfare code, occupational and private pensions, civil registration and gender recognition, redundancy and employer’s insolvency, employment rights and the Citizens Information Board.

Twenty Acts relating to these matters have been enacted since March 2011, as set out in the following table. No post-enactment reports have been published to date.

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection Acts Passed since March 2011

Title of Act

Date of Enactment

Social Welfare Act 2019

24 October 2019

Civil Registration Act 2019

23 May 2019

Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018

25 December 2018

Social Welfare, Pensions and Civil Registration Act 2018

24 December 2018

Social Welfare Act 2017

23 December 2017

Social Welfare Act 2016

19 December 2016

Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2015

16 December 2015

Gender Recognition Act 2015

22 July 2015

Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015

06 May 2015

Social Welfare and Pensions (No. 2) Act 2014

25 December 2014

Civil Registration (Amendment) Act 2014

04 December 2014

Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2014

17 July 2014

Social Welfare and Pensions (No. 2) Act 2013

25 December 2013

Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2013

09 November 2013

Social Welfare and Pensions (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2013

28 June 2013

Civil Registration (Amendment) Act 2012

26 December 2012

Social Welfare Act 2012

21 December 2012

Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2012

01 May 2012

Social Welfare Act 2011

19 December 2011

Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2011

29 June 2011

State Pensions

Ceisteanna (529)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

529. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if information will be provided to a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46104/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

A copy of the means assessment based on the information provided by the person concerned and used in the calculation of state pension non-contributory entitlement has been issued to the person concerned, as requested by the Deputy.

I hope that this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Child Benefit Eligibility

Ceisteanna (530)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

530. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if other supports are available to a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46127/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Under current legislation, child benefit is paid up to and including the month of a child’s 18th birthday provided the child is in full-time education. It ceases at 18 even if the child remains in full time education. As the person concerned received payment up to the date of the child's 18th birthday there is no further entitlement to child benefit.

If the person concerned is in receipt of other payment(s) from this Department, it may be possible to continue to claim an Increase for a qualified child (IQC) in respect of the child.  If this situation applies, they  should contact the relevant section within the Department.   Further information can be found at www.welfare.ie.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Exceptional Needs Payment Applications

Ceisteanna (531)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

531. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if special arrangements will be made to address the issues in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46158/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

According to the records of my Department no application for an exceptional needs payment has been received from the person concerned.  An application form was issued to the person concerned on the 22/10/19.

I am advised that an Officer of my Department has made contact with the person concerned and an appointment was arranged for 8/11/19. 

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Benefits

Ceisteanna (532)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

532. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the recipients of partial capacity benefit ineligible to avail of the same range of training and upskilling supports offered to those in receipt of other social welfare payments; and her plans to extend supports to this group in the future. [46169/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

My Department provides a range of income supports for persons who are ill or who have a disability.  Two of these supports are the illness Benefit (IB) and Invalidity Pension (IP) schemes.  In summary these schemes operate as follows:

1. Illness Benefit is a payment made to insured people who are unable to work due to illness and who satisfy certain PRSI contribution conditions.  To qualify for Illness Benefit a person must be unable to work due to illness, under the pensionable age and satisfy contribution conditions.

2. Invalidity Pension is a pension paid to people who are permanently incapable of work because of illness.  It is based on a claimant's social insurance contributions and is not means tested.  To qualify for award of Invalidity Pension a claimant must satisfy both PRSI contribution and medical conditions.

Subject to certain conditions persons in receipt of IB and IP may apply for Partial Capacity Benefit (PCB).  IB and IP are the only primary income support payments from which a person may request to move to a PCB payment.  

The PCB scheme responds to individual situations where a person in receipt of IB or IP retains some capacity for, and wishes to, undertake some work in the open labour market, while also continuing to require income support from the State.  The objective of the scheme is to support such persons to return to the workplace without fear of the loss of their income support.  The level of income support provided where a person moves on to PCB is based on a medical assessment of a person’s restriction, regarding their capacity for work.

It is important to note in relation to PCB that:

- participation is voluntary.

- a person who participates on the PCB scheme may return to an Illness Benefit or Invalidity Pension payment if, for example, the employment ceases or if the person cannot continue to work.

- a person on the PCB scheme, with an underlying entitlement to Invalidity Pension, will retain their Free Travel Pass for a period of five years.

- there is no requirement that a person must undertake work that is of a ‘rehabilitative or therapeutic’ nature.

- there is no restriction on the number of hours worked.

- there is no restriction on earnings.

PCB is not designed to provide income support while a person is undertaking an education or training course. 

Courses available through, for example, the springboard initiative are open to persons in employment, persons who are unemployed and ‘returners’.   The springboard initiative is delivered by the HEA (see https://springboardcourses.ie/) with eligibility for the courses determined by the HEA and the individual universities and other providers delivering the courses available under the initiative.  Persons who are unemployed and in receipt of a related payment, and subject to some conditionality (for example – a person who is unemployed must be in receipt of a payment for nine of the previous 12 months if they wish to participate on the one-year full-time ICT Skills Conversion courses), can access all springboard courses.

People in receipt of IB and IP (subject to some conditionality) may be permitted to undertake/participate on training or educational programmes; however, they must seek prior written approval from the Department before commencing any such programme.  In addition, (also subject to some conditionality), persons in receipt of IB and IP are eligible for back to education allowance.

I trust that this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Youth Employment Initiative

Ceisteanna (533)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

533. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a person (details supplied) in County Kerry will be permitted to take up an employment opportunity under the youth employment support scheme with an employer who uses a specialist jobs site to advertise the vacancy; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46171/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Departments Employer Relations Officer will make direct contact with both the employer and the potential YESS participant today to ensure that both the vacancy and the obligations with participation in YESS by the candidate are fulfilled.

I trust that this clarifies the position.

Employment Support Services

Ceisteanna (534, 535)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

534. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will report on the future of the employment support services at a centre (details supplied) in view of the fact that the grounds are for sale; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46199/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

535. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to the fact that lands (details supplied) in County Cork are now for sale; her alternative plans for the community employment and job initiative schemes that are provided there; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46201/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 534 and 535 together.

Bessborough Community Employment, (CE), and Bessborough Job Initiative, (JI) have been in-situ and supporting the Bessborough Centre over the past 35 years and 29 years respectively.  Currently, there are 23 Community Employment participants, 9 Job Initiative participants and 2 Supervisors employed by the Bessborough Community Employment Scheme and the Bessborough Job Initiative located at the Bessborough Centre.

The CE scheme and the Jobs Initiative provide services to the Bessborough Centre which include:   maintenance of buildings, grounds and facilities; the provision of parenting assistance in the Residential Parent and Infant Unit;  the provision of early years practitioners in the Centre’s Childcare facility; and the provision of significant administrative support to the entire Centre’s campus and services.

The Jobs Initiative scheme, who have been involved in the services since 1991, provides full-time support in security, janitorial services, office management and administration to the Centre. Furthermore, the Bessborough Centre JI scheme also provides administrative support to other community groups located away from the Centre.  These include Foroige, Enable Ireland and two Community Associations.

DEASP funds both the CE scheme and JI scheme annually with a budget in excess of €552,000.00 to the Bessborough Centre that covers Wages, Materials and Training costs associated with both of these schemes.  This equates to a substantial investment over the past 35 years in support of the infrastructure and services at the Bessborough Centre.  Other Government funding for services is provided through TUSLA, Cork Education and Training Board, the HSE and Pobal.

Local DEASP management are currently working closely with the Bessborough Centre CE and JI scheme sponsors to ensure continuity of CE and JI funding and ongoing delivery of the associated services.

Insolvency Payments Scheme Payments

Ceisteanna (536)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

536. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of the Supreme Court decision regarding EU member states having a mechanism allowing the court to determine that a state of insolvency arises permitting employee claims to be met from the social insurance fund without making a winding-up order; when payments will commence from the social insurance fund in this regard; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46204/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The purpose of the insolvency payments scheme is to protect certain outstanding pay-related entitlements due to employees in the event of the insolvency of their employer.  The scheme operates under the Protection of Employees (Employers’ Insolvency) Act 1984, which derives from EU Directive 2008/94.   Payments are made from the Social Insurance Fund.

The Protection of Employees (Employers’ Insolvency) Act 1984 provides for a scheme to employees of companies that are in a formal wind-up procedure such as liquidation or receivership, or situations where the employer has died and the estate is insolvent, or an employer has been declared bankrupt. 

The legislation does not provide for situations where an employer ceases to trade without engaging in any formal wind-up process. In such cases, referred to as ‘informal insolvency’, former employees may have monies owed to them without having a legal mechanism to claim same from the Social Insurance Fund.

In December 2018, the Supreme Court found that Ireland must provide a mechanism through which a competent authority can determine that a state of insolvency arises, without requiring a formal wind-up process, and that monies due to the employee can be claimed by them from the Social Insurance Fund.

The judgment and its ramifications are complex.  Consideration must be given to:-

- how the definition of insolvency for the purposes of the Protection of Employees (Employers' Insolvency) Act 1984 can be extended to include situations of informal insolvency  and what are the implications and consequences for company law.  To date the two statutory regimes - employers' insolvency on one hand and company law on the other - have been aligned.

- The determination of insolvency and by whom this determination will be made in the absence of a formal wind-up process.  This will be essential in situations of informal insolvency.

- Safeguarding the Social Insurance Fund from potential abuse.

Officials in my Department are working with the Office of the Attorney General and external counsel in addressing the issues involved.  Consultation with other relevant Government Departments and Offices is also underway.

Community Employment Schemes Supervisors

Ceisteanna (537)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

537. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the date she expects talks to conclude with community employment supervisors regarding pension entitlements and the implementation of the 2008 Labour Court recommendation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46216/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

As the Deputy will be aware, I have been in recent discussions with representatives of CE supervisors to discuss issues arising following the 2008 Labour Court Recommendation.  The details of the discussions have remained confidential while the engagement is ongoing and I would ask Deputies to respect these wishes and allow the talks to continue free from speculation.

In order to keep discussions open until a solution is found, it is difficult to specify a definitive date by which these discussions will conclude.  However, it will take a number of weeks to complete.

Labour Activation Measures

Ceisteanna (538)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

538. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons sanctioned for non-compliance and non-engagement in each of the years 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46217/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Penalty rates were introduced in 2011 as a means of encouraging jobseekers to engage with activation measures and to co-operate with efforts of the Department to assist them in securing employment.  The Department is committed, under Pathways to Work, to incentivise the take-up of activation opportunities, and this includes implementing sanctions for failure to engage where appropriate.

The legislation underpinning the application of penalty rates is provided for in the Social Welfare Act.  Penalty rates can only be applied in specific circumstances and the decision to impose a penalty can only be made by a Deciding Officer of the Department. If dissatisfied with that decision it is open to the Jobseeker to appeal the decision to the Social Welfare Appeal’s Office. 

The following table includes individuals who may have had a Penalty Rate applied in more than one year.

Details of the numbers of people who were subject to penalty rates each year since their introduction in 2011 and up to 6th October 2019.  

Year Penalty Rates applied

 2011

 2012

 2013

 2014

 2015

 2016

 2017

 2018

 2019

No of People Penalty rated

 353

 1,471

 3,179

 4,969

 6,115

 9,565

 13,503

 12,380

 9141

JobPath Data

Ceisteanna (539)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

539. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons referred to JobPath since its commencement and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46218/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The primary purpose of JobPath is to provide a case management based employment advice and counselling service to long-term unemployed jobseekers. The service was launched in 2015 on a ‘rolling basis’ with referral numbers gradually increasing over time.

Between July 2015 and October 2019, some 244,219 jobseekers had commenced their engagement period with the JobPath service - see table 1.  Of this number, 52% were unemployed for over three years.  This group, in particular, faces significant barriers when seeking to enter or return to paid employment.

I trust that this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Table 1: Jobseekers referred to JobPath by year

Year 

 Jobseekers

2015

 6,591

2016

 65,461

2017

 74,871

2018

 60,833

2019 to date

 36,463

Total

 244,219