Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Regional, Rural, Gaeltacht & Island Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív has called on the Minister for Social Protection to extend the timeframe for participation in the CE, Tús and Rural Social Schemes.

Deputy Ó Cuív explained, “This Government needs to wake up to the huge contribution that CE, Tús and RSS schemes make to communities right across the country, in both rural and urban areas.  Without these schemes, many services that the public rely on, such as a the maintenance of community facilities, football pitches, green spaces as well as meals on wheels and other social services, would not be available.

“Many people who participate in these schemes are unlikely to re-enter the commercial workforce, and the idea of forcing them back on to Jobseeker’s Allowance is counter-productive.  It can have a negative impact on the people themselves and it deprives communities of experienced workers who could be making a valuable contribution to their communities.

“The time restrictions should be amended so that anyone in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance for an extended period of time can be allowed apply for positons on Community Employment schemes.  There have been instances in the past whereby it has been particularly difficult to find participants for these programmes because of the current time restrictions.  People who want to continue on these schemes should be accommodated, particularly when replacements cannot be found.

“Minister Varadkar must review the current limits to ensure that people who want to stay on these schemes are facilitated so that these valuable community services can continue”.