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Departmental Programmes

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 31 May 2022

Tuesday, 31 May 2022

Ceisteanna (458)

Gerald Nash

Ceist:

458. Deputy Ged Nash asked the Minister for Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to a community employment scheme (details supplied) that has been instructed by her Department to discontinue a long-established programme of environmental works in three estates in Ardee, County Louth; if she will provide documentary evidence from her Departmental officials outlining the policy basis for this decision; if this decision is being implemented evenly and consistently across all relevant community employment schemes in the State; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27478/22]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Social)

The Community Employment (CE) programme is a community centred labour market initiative established for the purposes of social inclusion and activation, to help long-term unemployed people and other vulnerable groups to enter the workforce by breaking their experience of unemployment.

CE projects are sponsored by groups wishing to benefit the local community, namely voluntary and community organisations and, to a lesser extent, public bodies involved in not-for-profit activities.  CE sponsor groups provide valuable and dedicated services in communities all over the country and we simply could not sustain a lot of our local community services without the work undertaken in these projects.

Eligible work placements under CE are those that respond to an identified community need and provide development opportunities for participants in areas involving heritage, arts, culture, tourism, sport and the environment.  CE projects must not displace or replace existing jobs, have sufficient insurance cover for the types of work undertaken and offer valuable work experience to the CE participants.   

The range of community and voluntary services delivered by the Department’s employment support schemes does not extend to cover privately held dwellings or business premises or related amenities.  However, I recognise the excellent work undertaken by our tidy towns committees throughout the country and CE participants will continue to work with tidy towns committees to complete eligible work plans and provide valuable services to their communities.

In recognition that there is currently an arrangement in place to provide maintenance in the three estates referred to by the Deputy, the department has decided to allow funding for the placements of participants in these housing estates to continue until the end of September.  Continuing the provision of this service to the end of the current growing season will provide time to explore options with other agencies who have an involvement in environmental works and to work on a sustainable resolution to this issue.

I am fully committed to the future of this programme and will continue to support and improve the programme for the benefit of the CE participants in particular given the valuable contribution being made to local communities through the provision of services.  

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy. 

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