Dáil Éireann - Volume 314 - 23 May, 1979

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Youth Development.

30. Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Education when it is intended to introduce the scheme for the training of Professional Youth Workers.

Mr. Tunney: A sum of £25,000 is available in 1979 to initiate a scheme for in-service training of professional youth workers.

On 6 April, officers of the youth section of my Department met the working party, which drew up proposals for the scheme. My Department have, in the main, accepted the proposals but have suggested some amendments. I am now awaiting a reaction from the working party.

31. Mr. Horgan asked the Minister for Education if his attention has been drawn to a newspaper report (details supplied) that 100 new youth officers will be employed by the end of the year; and when and by whom these youth officers will be employed.

Mr. Tunney: Arising out of the budget proposals my Department were allocated a sum of £500,000 and charged with administering a scheme for the appointment of 100 development officers [1279] in youth and sport and some other areas.

My Department are at the moment engaged in consultations with the Government Departments concerned with a view to early appointments to these posts. I expect to be in a position to make an announcement on the implementation of the scheme in the near future.

Mr. Horgan: Could the Minister tell the House what other Government Departments are involved besides the Department of Education?

Mr. Tunney: The Deputy will appreciate that the principal Department is the Department of Finance because, in respect of the provision of £500,000, it was conditional on certain developments in the subsequent years. We were promised money for four years. I was not happy with the scale of money being made available for the second, third and fourth years and I thought it prudent to negotiate with the Department of Finance so that I might get a better deal from them. I also had to have consultations with the Department of Labour. In the main, the Department of Finance are the Department with which I have been having my major consultations.

Mr. Horgan: Am I correct in stating that the implication from the Minister's reply is that this scheme will run for at least four years? Surely the Minister can tell the House at this point, even though the final details of this scheme may not have been arranged, who will employ those youth development officers? Will it be the Department of Education directly, or the VEC? What agency does the Minister see as the effective employment agency for those people?

Mr. Tunney: The Deputy will appreciate that it is very difficult and it would be unwise to see all this happening in any one area. My Department are empowered to have employed a number of youth development officers. I would not like to be absolute in the matter of the agencies. As far as I am concerned, we should be given the opportunity of [1280] directing the employment of those officers into the areas where they are most needed. I am sure it will be appreciated by the House that the best way to employ some of those would be through some of our voluntary bodies and perhaps the best way to employ others would be through some of our sporting organisations. An organisation like the Amateur Boxing Association might possible be considered as an appropriate employer. It would not be to the best advantage of the employment if we were to channel them all through one particular agency or vehicle.

Mr. Horgan: I appreciate what the Minister says. Am I right in inferring from his answer that what is really envisaged here is a scheme whereby certain people will be employed for four years basically on a grant aid basis and that they will not be established as permanent public servants?

Mr. Tunney: I must take what is on offer and maybe argue for a better deal than I am being given. The initial indication was—I welcome this very much—that a sum of £500,000 would be provided to me for the employment of 100 people. I consider that was a very worthwhile initiative. Like all other people I am looking for something better.

Mr. Horgan: Are they likely to be employed before the summer?

Mr. Tunney: I hope they will be.

32. Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Education if his Department have adopted the Policy on Youth Development as presented by the National Youth Council.

Mr. Tunney: I am at present implementing my Government's youth policy. Additionally, the Deputy will be aware that I established a committee, under the chairmanship of District Justice O'Sullivan, which is charged with investigating the nature and effectiveness of the programmes of the youth organisations in receipt of grant-aid, direct or indirect, from my Department. This committee's recommendation and [1281] all other submissions made to me will receive my best consideration is due course.

Aspects of other policies or submissions which are in accordance with this policy are already being included.