Wednesday, 29 October 2008
Dáil Eireann Debate
191. Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment her views on reducing the requirement for entry to a community employment scheme from one year on the live register to a lesser time period in view of the increasing numbers on the live register. [37077/08]
Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Mary Coughlan): Community Employment (CE) is an active labour market programme designed to provide eligible long term unemployed people and other disadvantaged persons (including those with a disability) with an opportunity to engage in useful work within their communities on a fixed term basis. The eligibility criteria and participation limits for CE are set by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE). The qualifying criteria for participation are intended to facilitate the movement of participants through CE, allowing new participants who may not otherwise have such an opportunity, to avail of the programme.
The aim of CE still remains as an active labour market programme with the emphasis on progression into employment. The programme is managed within this context, with consideration to the availability of resources and the needs of participants and the community. FÁS makes every effort to ensure that differing levels of demand between neighbouring schemes are equalised. FÁS also operates the programme flexibly as far as possible to ensure the continuation of community projects.
In conclusion then, I would say that this Government will continue to support the positive role of CE in meeting the needs of long-term unemployed persons while at the same time providing essential services to communities. I have no plans to amend the eligibility criteria for participation on Community Employment Schemes; however, the operation of the Scheme is kept under constant review.
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