I have called on the Minister for Social Protection to publish the long awaited report in Community Employment Scheme’s which was due in the summer of 2016. No reason has been given for the delay.
The Minister referred to a report that was pending on how CE schemes are and would be implemented. I am concerned that there is an ideological issue at play here. Some, including the Minister, see the CE schemes as a means to an end with job activation as the ultimate goal. Others see them as an end in themselves where individuals can contribute constructively within a structured format in their communities which is mutually beneficial to the individual and the host organisation.
Minister Varadkar changed the rules last summer to make it more difficult to access these schemes – for what I believe are ideological reasons, as he sees them as only a means to an end – his view that everyone should be shoe horned into commercial activity. This is neither realistic nor desirable in many cases. I believe community activity is a worthwhile goal in itself and often a good match for the people seeking it. When I queried this in the house last November I was told a report on the scheme was imminent yet it has still not issued.
I am working to provide better ran CE Scheme’s to make it easier for those in community involvement. One stumbling block which is currently making life difficult for groups in Prosperous, Naas, and Kilcock is the delay in a report which had been due for publication since last summer. The report must be issued and this is what I have called on the Taoiseach to do.
I have worked with organisations that do fantastic work in the community employing CE scheme workers. Naas Rugby Club, McAuley Place, Naas GAA and other clubs across the constituency are a shining example of how well these schemes can work. I know first-hand how greatly people enjoy being on these schemes, both in terms of mental and physical health. The Minister must not be distracted anymore and publish this report immediately.