Dáil Éireann - Volume 611 - 06 December, 2005
Written Answers. - Community Employment Schemes.
Mr. Howlin Mr. Howlin
281. Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a day care for the elderly, Travellers’ pre-school, GAA club, parish and community office, and a programme of maintenance and enhancement of the local environment is staffed by an organisation which relies on the community employment scheme as well as voluntary effort to deliver its services; his views on the difficulties being experienced by this and similar groups arising from the reduction in persons eligible for recruitment under community employment scheme arising from the change in regulations introduced in April 2000; if he will consider relaxing this regulation in order to ameliorate difficulties in recruiting community employment eligible staff; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37570/05]
Mr. Martin Mr. Martin
Mr. Martin: As the Deputy may be aware, the community employment programme was restructured in 1999 to limit participation by new participants within three years, with effect from April 2000. The change was introduced to discourage repeated participation in community employment schemes and to encourage unemployed persons to avail of training-education and employment options where possible. The three-year cap was amended in August 2001 to allow particularly disadvantaged persons to remain on  the programme for a further period. In general, approximately 20% of participants, including persons under 55 years of age, may benefit from an additional year on the programme under the flexibility guidelines introduced in August 2001. I announced in November 2004 on foot of a review of the FÁS employment schemes — the community employment, job initiative and social economy programmes — that the three-year cap would be removed for community employment participants over the age of 55. This category of participants is now eligible to participate on community employment schemes for a maximum of six years. The extended participation on such schemes by older workers will help to secure the continuity of community services of the type referred to by the Deputy and will ensure that the existing community service support framework will be maintained.
Dáil Éireann 611 Written Answers. Community Employment Schemes.