Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith has called on the Social Protection Minister to remove restrictive time limits on certain community schemes.  He wants to ensure that places on schemes are fully subscribed and that anyone who has been participating in a programme and who wants to continue can do so, as long as there is a place available.

Deputy Smith commented, “Schemes such as the Rural Social Scheme, the Community Employment Scheme and Tús are the lifeblood of many communities, seeing people undertake essential services in their local area.

“Things like meals on wheels, general maintenance of community centres and sports facilities and providing additional assistance in community playgroups are all covered by people participating in these schemes.  Their importance cannot be underestimated – in fact many local authorities would not be able to provide these services because of a lack of finances and resources.

“These schemes not only benefit communities through the roll out of essential services, but they also provide an opportunity for people who have been receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance or Benefit to re-enter the workforce and  develop new skills.  The majority of people who participate in these schemes are unlikely to fully re-enter the labour market and placing them back on Jobseekers serves no real purpose, particularly when they want to continue on these schemes.

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