Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection Willie O’Dea has criticised the delay in allocating additional funding to Community Service Programmes (CSP’s). The Department of Social Protection committed to providing the additional funding to help cover wage costs following an increase in the minimum wage.

Deputy O’Dea said, “Community Services Programmes play a vital role in providing local services and creating employment opportunities for disadvantaged people. The programmes rely on funding allocated by the Department of Social Protection. Unfortunately the Government failed to allocate additional funding following the increase in the minimum wage. This has led to increased financial strain for service providers.

“Fianna Fáil raised this issue last year and pointed out that additional funding would be needed to ensure service levels can be maintained following an increase in the minimum wage. The Department of Social Protection agreed to put arrangements in place to allow individual companies apply for additional funding to cover increased wage costs. However providers are still waiting to hear whether their application for additional funding has been successful.

“It’s quite frankly unacceptable that service providers are still waiting for their applications to be processed. Six months have now passed since the minimum wage was increased, and the Government had been warned prior to this that additional funding would be needed for CSP’s. I recently raised this issue with the Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar. The reply I received is unsatisfactory as it does not outline when service providers can expect their applications to be processed.

“Minister Varadkar needs to clearly set out when service providers can expect a final outcome regarding their funding applications. It’s important that these essential services are adequately resourced,” concluded Deputy O’Dea.