Participants of Community Employment and TÚS schemes in Laois whose contracts were due to finish over the period since last October will now benefit from a further extension up to July 2.
So says Fine Gael TD Charlie Flanagan who spoke about the vital work that these people do across the county.
Deputy Flanagan said: “The work that CE and TÚS workers carry out is absolutely vital to local communities right across Laois.
“It is this Government’s priority is to ensure that there’s continuity and certainty for CE and TÚS schemes throughout the current restrictions.
“I absolutely value the contribution that CE and TÚS schemes make on a daily basis in our towns, villages and parishes throughout Laois.
“Community Employment needs to be viewed not just as an important employment and development support but also as an integral community service particularly in rural areas.
“The changes announced today by my Fine Gael colleague, Minister Heather Humphreys and her Department colleague Minister of State Joe O’Brien, are an important first step.
“I am confident that through increased engagement with stakeholders, we can ensure that the important work carried out by CE and TUS schemes deliver maximum benefits both for workers and communities.”
The Fine Gael TD explained how an extra 3,000 places had been secured on both schemes last year.
He said: “Under the Government’s July Stimulus Programme last year, approval was secured for 3,000 additional places to support CE and TÚS schemes.
“These additional places underline the Government’s commitment to CE and TUS and will provide opportunities for new schemes as well as facilitating more people on the existing schemes.
“Filling these additional places, as well as those arising from existing vacancies will be an absolute priority for Government, once the economy and society begins to move beyond Covid and public health restrictions ease.
“It is intended to significantly scale up the numbers of referrals from local Intreo offices to CE and Tus once the country begins to reopen.
“All of these measures will provide further certainty to CE schemes, participants and the important community services they provide, while supporting long term unemployed people during this challenging Covid environment.
“I would also like to re-assure participants of CE and TÚS projects that contracts due to end post 2nd July 2021, will be done on a planned and phased basis.”