Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection Barry Cowen has called for urgent clarification from the Taoiseach and the Minister for Social Protection as to whether or not a review is taking place on massive cuts to grants for Community Employment schemes.
Minister Joan Burton created further confusion in the Dáil last night by attempting to hide behind “reviews” of the cuts she proposed to CE schemes in Budget 2012, despite the fact that yesterday the Taoiseach told the Dáil that any reviews cannot result in a reversal of the 66% cuts to grants for Community Employment schemes.
Deputy Cowen said: “Fine Gael and Labour appear to be at odds over the cuts to Community Employment schemes announced in the Budget. The conflicting reports from the Government are causing great distress to those involved in community employment projects around the country.
“I again questioned Minister Burton in the Dáil about what these cutbacks will mean for individual CE projects nationwide. Once again she failed to provide a clear response. She said the cuts will not result in any CE schemes shutting down, but she didn’t deny that each of them would be hit with massive cuts of 66% to the grants provided by the State.
“Minister Burton has offered no solace to people around the country who are deeply worried about the impact of these cuts. There is real fear among community groups, the long-term unemployed and employers involved in CE schemes about what these cuts will mean to them. It is incumbent on the Minister to clear this up once and for all.”