Sinn Féin Social Protection spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodiagh TD has accused Minister Burton of misleading the public on cuts to CE Schemes. Speaking in the Dáil today Deputy Ó Snodaigh said the minister’s announcement of a review of the cut before Christmas was made simply to get her own party back-benchers off her back.
“The cuts announced by this Labour Party Minister are decimating the Community Employment Scheme and attacking the communities who depend on them.
“You decided to cut the CE training and materials Budget by 66% in Budget 2012. Under severe pressure you announced a review before Christmas leading many of those affected to believe they had been saved from the cut. But that was not the case at all. The cut was made earlier this month. Do you accept that you announced the review and misled the public simply to get your own party’s back-benchers off your case?
“Do you agree that the fact that you are now conducting a review also demonstrates that you had not bothered to assess the impact this cut would have when you decided to make it?
“You also made a commitment that no CE project would be allowed to close in advance of the conclusion of the review. Rather the projects experiencing financial difficulty as a result of the 66% cut are to go cap in hand to the department and beg for some emergency funds.
“Last week an angling park for people with disabilities employing 23 people gave notice of imminent closure as a consequence of the cut. In the eleventh hour you reduced their cut from 66% to 25% until the conclusion of the review. Do you agree that this is a very shabby way to do business and to treat people?
“In the Budget you announced a cut to the Community Employment Programme of €41.5 million. You have determined to make a cut in region of €27.5 million to the training and materials funding. In essence, have you not decided on the outcome of your review before it even got underway?
“You promised that no community employment project would be let close in advance of the conclusion of the review. Will you be forcing the closure of projects afterwards?”