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Government attacking disadvantaged communities with CE cuts – Doherty

8 February, 2012 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Speaking today during a Dáil debate on the Government’s proposed cuts to community employment funding, Sinn Féin Donegal South West TD Pearse Doherty accused the government of “attacking disadvantaged communities”.

Deputy Doherty also accused Minister Joan Burton of “hiding behind the Troika and selectively quoting academic research to justify cuts to projects for the long term unemployed, older people and people with disabilities.”

Deputy Doherty said:

“The Government is proposing to cut €27.5 million from the community employment scheme budget in 2012. This is exactly the same amount of money as the Government allowed NAMA to spend on legal fees to private companies since 2010.

“Under pressure from a strong campaign Minister Burton has announced a review of the proposed cut. This is nothing more than a smoke screen to give cover to the embarrassment of Labour backbenchers faced with local anger over the cut.

“The decision to cut this funding is nothing more than an attack on disadvantaged communities. It is an attack on the long term unemployed, on older people and people with disabilities.

“In my own constituency of Donegal South West there are 68 organisations sponsoring community employment schemes. They range from the Irish Wheelchair Association and the Alzheimer Society to numerous local community associations.

“All of these projects and the wider communities they service will suffer as a result of the proposed cut.

“What is worse is that the Minister in her speech yesterday tried to hide behind the Troika, blaming them for ‘not recognising the social value of CE’. Worse still the Minister selectively quoted academic research to justify her decision to attacks community employment schemes.

“Community Employment schemes provide a valuable service to both the unemployed and to disadvantaged communities. Cutting their funding is wrong. Indeed at a time of rising unemployment and social inequality the Government should be increasing investment in community employment.”

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