Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Youth Unemployment.

Thursday, 25 May 1978

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 306 No. 12

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[1872]10.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  asked the Minister for the Environment the action he is taking to implement the Environmental Works Programme designed to reduce youth unemployment.

Mr. Barrett: Information on Sylvester Barrett  Zoom on Sylvester Barrett  My Department notified details of this programme, including allocations totalling £4 million, to local authorities on 23 February 1978. The selection and execution of works under the programme is a matter for the local authorities, subject to general guidelines issued by my Department.

I am glad to say that returns by local authorities show that 250 persons were employed on the programme at the end of April 1978, the latest date for which information is available.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Is the Minister aware that much of this scheme is paralysed at present and possibly hundreds of young people are being denied the right to the opportunity of even temporary employment? When will the recommendation of the working party on the status of engineers be made known?

Mr. Barrett: Information on Sylvester Barrett  Zoom on Sylvester Barrett  I expect it will be in a matter of weeks. I could not give the Deputy a closer date than that.

Mr. Horgan: Information on John S. Horgan  Zoom on John S. Horgan  Is it not the case that this programme was supposed to provide employment for 1,000 young people? When does the Minister expect the figure to rise to that total?

Mr. Barrett: Information on Sylvester Barrett  Zoom on Sylvester Barrett  Because of the attitude of engineers a number of counties have not been able to implement this scheme yet. It has been implemented already in some of the bigger and more heavily populated counties. The next report, perhaps at the end of June, will show a drastic increase even in those counties. I am reasonably confident that the counties which have not operated it— and there are not too many of them— will be operating it by that time.

Mr. Horgan: Information on John S. Horgan  Zoom on John S. Horgan  Can the Minister say how long these jobs will last? Will they be permanent jobs?

Mr. Barrett: Information on Sylvester Barrett  Zoom on Sylvester Barrett  They will last until the £4 million has been spent, however [1873] long that is. Allocations have been made for each county with a view to making them last during the year. The allocations have been based on that.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Has the Minister any alternatives in mind if some local authorities refuse to implement the scheme as it stands?

Mr. Barrett: Information on Sylvester Barrett  Zoom on Sylvester Barrett  Yes, I have alternatives in mind but I would prefer not to comment on them at this time.


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