Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Regional, Rural, Gaeltacht & Island Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív is calling on the Minister for Social Protection to review the current model for staffing community schemes to ensure that vital community projects are properly staffed on a long-term basis.

The existing system places restrictive time limits on programmes such as the CE, Tús and the Rural Social Schemes.

Deputy Ó Cuív commented, “This Government does not appear to fully understand the value of community schemes in towns and villages across the country.  In fact, the work undertaken by these schemes and the services provided are often overlooked and there seems to be a failure to appreciate that if these programmes ceased to exist, many essential services would no longer be available.

“Many basic services in rural Ireland, as well as community services in towns and cities are provided through the Community Employment Scheme, the Tús Scheme and the Rural Social Scheme.  However, the Government is making it increasingly difficult for people to access employment on these schemes by placing prohibitive restrictions on them.  Even in cases whereby a person has been unable to find alternative employment or has very little prospect of securing alternative employment the amount of time they can spend on these schemes is very limited.

“Minister Varadkar must look at a renewed model for these schemes to enable participants to remain on them on a more long-term basis, especially in cases where there are no other job opportunities available.  It’s imperative that the Government comes up with an alternative scheme to provide funding so that people can be employed full time to carry out this work in their communities”.