Dáil Éireann - Volume 474 - 30 January, 1997

Written Answers. - Community Exployment Schemes.

103. Cecilia Keaveney asked the Minister for Enterprise and Employment if he intends to increase the number of places for community employment schemes nationally and review the eligibility criteria of these schemes in view of the high uptake of these schemes and the valuable contribution they make to many communities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2683/97]

Minister for Enterprise and Employment (Mr. R. Bruton): Funding has been provided to FÁS for an average of 40,000 places on community employment schemes during 1997. The present eligibility criteria for the programme came into effect in April 1996 following a detailed review of community employment and in respect to the recommendation of the task force on long-term unemployment and is designed to better target the programme at the most disadvantaged of long-term unemployed people such as those over 21 years and whose principle or only source of income is an unemployment compensation payment or lone parent's allowance.

I keep all programmes under regular review in regard to their effectiveness in meeting their objective, which in the case of community employment is to provide quality temporary work experience and training opportunities that enhance the employment prospects of those priority groups at whom the programme is targeted. A commitment exists in Partnership 2000 that the range of labour market interaction measures, including community employment will be reviewed to ensure that priority is given to those most disadvantaged and that as resources permit there will be an increase of 10,000 places, with particular provision for those unemployed for more than five years. It is the intention of the Government that this commitment will be carried out over the lifetime of the agreement.