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Ó Clochartaigh seeks special dispensation for CE workers in unemployment blackspots

2 June, 2011

Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has challenged the minister for Social Protection Joan Burton to adopt a more flexible approach to Community Employment Scheme workers in unemployment blackspots.

The scheme has come under the spotlight recently due to concerns regarding the strict limitation on working for longer than three years on such a scheme.

Addressing the Minister the Galway West Senator stated that this approach failed to recognise valuable contributions made by these workers to their local communities.

Senator Ó Clochartaigh said:

“The logic doesn’t stack up. This creates a revolving door scenario where people in employment are taken out of jobs and put on the dole after a determined period without regard to the benefit to themselves or indeed the benefit to their community.

“My fellow Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane highlighted earlier today the unemployment crisis we face nationally. The wisdom of such an approach in the midst of such a crisis is questionable. The purpose of the FÁS CE schemes is to prepare people for work but at present due to failings of previous administrations these participants don’t have any meaningful employment to take up.

The Senator specifically called on the minister to direct FÁS to use the leniency which was previously shown in areas of high unemployment.

Senator Ó Clochartaigh also highlighted the plight of those not on the live register such as self-employed and under employed and asked the minister to put measures in place which will assist them in their road back to employment.

“I do welcome the announcement of the rollout of the TUS programme, but I would call on the Minister to put in place an additional 10,000 CE Schemes in line with the Sinn Féin proposals. This would not only be of great benefit to such projects in Galway and Connemara, but could also play a significant role in the effort to combat the unemployment crisis.”

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