Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Regional, Rural, Gaeltacht & Island Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív has called on the Employment Minister to review the Tús Scheme, with a view to allowing participants spend more than one year on the programme.

“When I set up the Tús scheme at the end of 2010, it was never my intention that it would be confined to a one year participation period, as many of the people who signed up to the scheme were unlikely to secure permanent employment in the commercial economy”, said Deputy Ó Cuív.

“However, as a result of the economic downturn and an increase in the number of people on the Live Register a decision was taken to put a one year participation limit on the scheme in order to allow as many people as possible to secure a place on the programme within the allocated budget.

“However, now that we have seen a significant reduction in the numbers on the Live Register, I believe Minister Doherty should fill the full Tús quota (8,260 places)by allowing participants spend more than one year on the scheme, where vacancies are still available.

“At the moment there are 6,409 people taking part in the Tús scheme, which means there are more than 1,800 additional places available.

“Unfortunately, Minister Doherty is taking a narrow view of the purpose of the scheme and is failing to understand that many of the participants face serious challenges and are unlikely to secure employment in the public or private sector.

“There is a complete disconnect between this government and the people who participate in community schemes.  Anybody who works closely with community initiatives understands the importance of these programmes, not only for the communities themselves, but also for the people who partake in them in terms of self-esteem and confidence.

“I am once again calling on the Minister to take these arguments into consideration and to review the terms of the Tús Scheme to allow people to remain on the scheme for more than one year if there are places still available”.