Major reforms to Community Employment, Tús and the Rural Social Scheme are set to reform the sector, a Laois TD has said.
Fine Gael’s Charlie Flanagan says the changes will extend eligibility criteria for Laois participants and provide additional flexibility to local supervisors when it comes to recruitment.
The purpose of CE and Tús is to provide long term unemployed participants with work experience in their local communities to help them find employment.
Deputy Flanagan said: “These schemes support a range of vital local services in Laois such as childcare, meals on wheels, the maintenance and upkeep of local amenities and other vital work in our communities.
“For the Rural Social Scheme, the six-year time limit will be removed.
“Eligibility for Tús is now extended to persons in receipt of disability payments. Flexibility for CE schemes will allow for direct recruiting of eligible candidates to fill 30% of places.
“The Intreo centre in Laois will also benefit with an increase in the number of referrals to CE. Schemes will be required to offer places to at least 60% of candidates.”
Deputy Flanagan added “Fine Gael is working to create stronger safer communities and these changes will support these schemes by strengthening the recruitment process and the delivery of essential local services in communities across Laois.
“The changes announced will extend the eligibility criteria for these schemes and will also provide additional flexibility to local supervisors when it comes to the recruitment and retention of participants, said Deputy Flanagan.
“I’m from a rural community myself and have always been a believer in the benefits of programmes like CE, Tús and RSS both for participants and for communities”.
Kildare based Senator Fiona O’Loughlin has also welcomed Cabinet approval for a number of major reforms to Community Employment, Tús and the Rural Social Scheme.
Senator O’Loughlin said, “There are currently over 19,000 participants on CE, almost 5,000 participants on Tús and just under 3,000 participants on the Rural Social Scheme. Government investment in the three schemes will amount to over €500million in 2022 which is a hugely significant allocation.”
“There reforms will see the removal of the six-year time limit for all participants on the Rural Social Scheme. Eligibility for Tús will be extended to persons in receipt of Disability Payments, as well as new flexibility to allow CE schemes to directly recruit eligible candidates to fill 30% of places.“
Fiona concluded “Almost 27,000 people participate on these schemes, working part time, to provide services to local communities including in disadvantaged and rural communities. These schemes provide key services to our communities, and these reforms are positive in my view.”