Fianna Fáil TD for Mayo Dara Calleary has backed his Party’s publication of proposals to secure Community Employment Schemes into the future. The document has been submitted to the Interdepartmental Group, which is examining the future of these schemes.

Deputy Calleary commented, “Fianna Fáil has always been a strong advocator and supporter of Community Employment Schemes. We recognise the valuable contributions that these schemes make across County Mayo as well as the huge benefits that the participants themselves report.

“The positive impact of participating in a CE scheme cannot be overstated – from the confidence boost of learning new skills to the sense of belonging and community it brings, not just in the West but across the country.

“There are thousands of people who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to work in the labour market.  It is in these instances where CE schemes have made a real difference. In my own constituency I know of sports clubs, childcare facilities, resource centres and Meals on Wheels services staffed by CE participants doing vital work in villages and rural areas of County Mayo.

“I acknowledge the fact that the need for activation schemes has diminished over the past number of years, however, I believe it is important to protect the social inclusion element of CE schemes”.

Fianna Fáil is calling on the Inter-departmental group to consider:

– Keeping the Departmental responsibility for CE schemes within the DEASP;

– Ring-fencing funding and increasing the materials budget;

– Adapting CE schemes in line with changes in economic performance;

– Greater flexibility and a common-sense approach;

– Addressing the pension issue for Supervisors and Assistant Supervisors.

“The preservation of Community Employment Schemes is a key priority for Fianna Fáil.  We believe that spending on CE schemes represents good value for money, and despite the higher employment figures, these schemes are still needed”, concluded Deputy Calleary.