Dáil Éireann - Volume 541 - 03 October, 2001

Written Answers. - Community Employment Schemes.

187. Mr. P. Carey asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if she gave a commitment to child care providers when announcing a reduction of community employment places earlier in 2001 that providers of child care places in the community to facilitate parents return to work, education and training would not be asked to bear a reduction in the number of community employment places allocated to them; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21827/01]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Ms Harney): Following the Government decision in July 1999 to restructure community employment, CE, the numbers employed on the programme are reducing to 28,000 by the end of 2003. Further reductions in participation levels will arise as a result of the mainstreaming of CE essential services. This process involves the transfer of CE funding for specific services to other Departments with functional responsibility for these services. The reduction in absolute numbers participating is considered to be appropriate given the present economic climate the buoyancy in employment levels.

While there can be no guarantee that participation levels on CE will remain unchanged in any sector, FÁS gives priority to caring/support projects based in the community and voluntary sector when approving projects, and this would include projects involved in childcare services.