Dáil Éireann - Volume 510 - 04 November, 1999
Written Answers. - Community Employment Schemes.
Mr. M. Higgins Mr. M. Higgins
33. Mr. M. Higgins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if the cutbacks in the number of places under the community employment scheme and the other changes in qualification announced by her on 23 July 1999 have been withdrawn; the proposals for the future of the scheme; the number of places which will be available in 2000; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21995/99]
Ms Harney Ms Harney
Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Ms Harney): The Government decision to reduce the number of community employment places by 4,500 over a five year period and transfer the resources for 5,000 places to a dedicated social economy programme remains unchanged. Having taken on board the concerns expressed by organisations and individuals regarding the restructuring of the CE programme and to be as equitable and flexible as possible for participants and sponsors my Department has agreed the following implementation guidelines with FÁS:
The eligibility age for participation in CE to be raised from 21 years to 25 years with effect from 29 October 1999. The following exemptions will apply for persons under 25 years of age: travellers, ex-offenders, refugees, people with disabilities, people referred under drugs task force, offshore island inhabitants, 18-24 year olds, referred through the Employment Action Plan who are 18 months or more unemployed.
Duration of participant breaks between schemes to be increased from six to 12 months with effect from April 2000. Offshore island residents will be exempt from this change. Future participation in CE by an individual will be capped at three years with effect from 29 October 1999. An individual's previous participation on the programme will not be taken into account. Offshore island residents will be exempt from this change.
Eligibility to participate in CE has been extended to qualified adults and widow's-widower's with effect from 15 September 1999.
Regarding the future of CE, the target average participation on the programme in 1999 is 37,500 and there will be a phased reduction over five years to 28,000. It should be noted that there will be synchronisation to the greatest degree possible between the introduction of the new social economy programme and reductions of CE places. I have given a commitment to the social partners that there will be consultations within the P2000 Committee on Labour Market Issues on how best to allocate any medium-term resources freed up by the restructuring of CE to fit the needs of long-term unemployed; and there will be consul tations with the social partners at a central level on the proper funding and provision of essential services currently delivered through CE.
Dáil Éireann 510 Written Answers. Community Employment Schemes.