Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD has criticised the cutting of funding for the community employment and jobs initiative schemes in the budget.
Speaking today Deputy Morgan said:
“The announcement by the Minister for Finance of €50million of savings to be made in the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment will have ramifications for the Community employment sector and indeed for social welfare.
“The proposed measure to reduce allowances for community employment and the jobs initiative will have the serious repercussions of undermining the valuable contribution being made by these schemes and will dissuade people from taking them up, keeping them on social welfare.
“Sinn Féin believes that more attention should be devoted to the development of the Irish social economy and both the Jobs Initiative Scheme and the Community Employment Scheme are central to this. The social economy transcends the often exploitative relationship between worker and employer and encourages empowerment, collective approaches to production and ecological stability.
“It is increasingly recognised that the social economy has an important role to play in society particularly by enhancing the economy within communities suffering social and economic exclusion. The social economy is necessary to build a strong, stable and egalitarian economy and Sinn Féin oppose vehemently any moves to reduce allowances for the Jobs Initiative and Community Employment schemes being run through FÁS. These schemes are productive both for the community and those who are unable to find work.
“Reducing allowances for the Jobs Initiative and Community Employment schemes is short-sighted and will be detrimental.
“For years Jobs Initiative has played a significantly important role in the lives of droves of people – it has given them confidence, it has given them access to training, self development, and allowed them to experience working in the mainstream when all other options were closed under the free market.
“Jobs Initiative and Community Employment workers have become an invaluable support in the communities they work in. These schemes have become the only lifeline to employment that many people, especially those in the disability sector, can access. To reduce these allowances will seriously undermine the work of thousands of people across this State.” ENDS