Dáil Éireann - Volume 471 - 13 November, 1996

Written Answers. - Community Employment Schemes.

151. Mr. S. Brennan asked the Minister for Enterprise and Employment the reason a person [1075] who has exhausted unemployment benefit after 15 months and has been signing for credits for a further period, is declared ineligible under the community employment scheme on the basis that the person is not receiving a social welfare payment; his views on whether a person in the circumstances described is a long-term unemployed person and should be officially classified as such; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21230/96]

152. Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Enterprise and Employment if he will reduce the ruling for participants of FÁS schemes whereby they need to be on the live register for 12 months in view of the fact that many schemes are finding it difficult to secure workers. [21288/96]

Minister for Enterprise and Employment (Mr. R. Bruton): I propose to take Questions Nos. 151 and 152 together.

Community Employment is designed primarily to prevent marginalisation of long-term unemployed people whose principal or only source of income is a social welfare payment. Its objective is to provide temporary work experience opportunities with some training that would enhance the employment prospects of those at whom the programme is targeted. The present eligibility criteria for CE only came into effect earlier this year following a detailed review of CE and in response to the recommendations of the Task Force on Long-Term Unemployment. In view of this and taking into account that the programme is operating close to capacity I do not propose to widen the eligibility criteria.

Persons, including those signing for credits, who have been on the live register for more than 12 months are of course long-term unemployed.