Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Employment Affairs and Social Protection Willie O’Dea TD has cautiously welcomed the changes announced today to Jobpath which Fianna Fáil has been actively campaigning for.

The changes announced will facilitate access, from 1st June this year, to Community Employment (CE) and Tús schemes for long-term unemployed jobseekers that are engaging in JobPath.

Commenting O’Dea said, “I recently announced that I was bringing forward a Bill, the Social Welfare (Community Employment) Bill 2018, to give a legal entitlement to a person taking part in the JobPath activation programme to opt out of Jobpath in order to take part in a Community Employment Scheme, a Tús Scheme or a Rural Social Scheme.

“I and my colleagues in Fianna Fáil have been inundated with complaints from people who felt that they were being unfairly coerced into Jobpath but would have preferred a place on a CE or Tús scheme which in many instances was more appropriate and suitable to their needs.

“My colleagues and I raised this issue time and time again with Minister Doherty and her predecessor Leo Varadkar on the floor of the Dáil and by way of parliamentary questions. I am glad that Minister Doherty has finally seen sense and has gone some way towards making the changes that we were seeking. However, it is unfortunate that it took Minister Doherty so long to listen to not only our views but also the views of participants and those who supervise and manage CE and Tús schemes.

“As a Party we are committed to championing these schemes and we will resist any attempts to downgrade or side-line them. Therefore, whilst we welcome today’s belated announcement, we will be keeping a close eye on these schemes to ensure that they remain at the heart of communities throughout the country.”