Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Rural Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív TD has called on the new Minister for Activation in the Department of Social Protection, Kevin Humphreys TD, to look at expanding the Community Services Programme to provide extra community services and employment while reducing the number of people on the live register.
He commented: “The Community Service Programme is designed to address gaps in service delivery and disadvantage and to ensure that community facilities and heritage projects such as the Dunbrody Project in New Ross, Wexford or Athenry Castle in Galway are fully utilised and used for the benefit of local communities.
“During the Celtic Tiger era, a lot of very large community facilities were built around the country and these facilities can generate a certain amount of income but need a subsidy to remain open so they can be used to their full capacity.
“The Community Service Programme specifies that projects employ people mainly from the live register, people with disabilities or people from the traveller community. The scheme funds community projects that would have day to day income but would not be able to meet all of the day to day overheads.
“I believe that a huge number of extra community services could be provided throughout the country at virtually no extra cost, by the expansion of the Community Service Programme. I now call on Minister Humphreys, in his new role as Minister for Activation and as a person with a positive outlook , to examine this scheme and to expand its remit significantly. I look forward to working with the Minister in this regard.”