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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 228-247
 Header Item Family Resource Centres
 Header Item Youth Services Funding
 Header Item Child Care Services Provision
 Header Item Departmental Advertising Campaigns
 Header Item Community Services Programme
 Header Item Local Improvement Scheme Administration
 Header Item Departmental Advertising Campaigns
 Header Item Disability Allowance Eligibility
 Header Item Carer's Allowance Applications
 Header Item Carer's Allowance Appeals
 Header Item Carer's Allowance Applications
 Header Item Carer's Allowance Applications
 Header Item Carer's Allowance Appeals
 Header Item Carer's Allowance Appeals
 Header Item Carer's Allowance Applications
 Header Item Labour Activation Programmes Data
 Header Item Social Welfare Overpayments
 Header Item State Pension (Contributory)
 Header Item Community Employment Schemes Administration
 Header Item Community Employment Schemes Operation

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 966 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 70 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 228-247

Family Resource Centres

 228. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin Information on Fiona O'Loughlin Zoom on Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if recognition and funding will be considered for a centre (details supplied) in County Kildare. [10460/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, administers the Family Resource Centre Programme. As part of Budget 2018, I was pleased to announce that additional funding of approximately €3.0m is being allocated to Family Resource Centres. This funding will provide an increased allocation to existing centres, and will support the expansion of the programme, with the inclusion of an additional 11 centres in 2018.

In addition to the resources provided in Budget 2018, over €2.0m in once-off extraordinary funding was allocated to existing centres for investment in small works in December 2017.

Tusla has advised that it has received a total of 43 applications for inclusion in the Family Resource Centre Programme from community organisations, including the organisation referred to by the Deputy. Tusla is currently assessing all applications. Applicants will be notified of the outcome of the assessment early this month.

I highly value the work of Family Resource Centres across the country. Tusla is committed to using all available resources for children and families in the most efficient, equitable, proportionate and sustainable way.

Youth Services Funding

 229. Deputy John Brassil Information on John Brassil Zoom on John Brassil asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone her plans to properly resource youth services in each ETB area to support volunteer youth leaders; if the requested review of existing youth club and group support structures will be conducted; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10520/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone My Department administers a range of funding schemes and programmes to support the provision of youth services to young people throughout the country including those from disadvantaged communities.

These schemes include the Youth Service Grant Scheme under which funding is made available on an annual basis to thirty national and major regional youth organisations. This funding is intended to ensure the emergence, promotion, growth and development of youth organisations with distinctive philosophies and programmes aimed at the social education of young people. In 2017, I provided an additional 5% in funding to this scheme, bringing the total allocation to €10.65m.

The Local Youth Club Grant Scheme supports youth work activities at a local level.  These grants are made available to all youth clubs and groups through the local Education and Training Boards. The scheme is open to some 1,700 youth groups and clubs, with an estimated 90,000 club members around the country. In 2017, I provided an additional 10% in funding to the scheme, bringing the total allocation to €1.1715m.

My Department has commenced a process to identify service development needs for 2018 and to finalise the 2018 allocations to the above schemes. Every effort will be made to complete this process as soon as possible.

In 2017, I was also pleased to approve the establishment the Local Youth Club Equipment Scheme which provided €6.35m nationally. The primary focus of this once-off scheme was to assist volunteer led clubs and groups that work with young people in communities throughout the country.  The scheme provided for the purchase of equipment for sport, arts, adventure and other much needed items. I have received extremely positive feedback on the scheme from clubs across Ireland.

My Department has commenced a review of the Youth Service Grant Scheme. This review is intended to enhance its accountability, transparency and scheme measurement.  It is also seeking to ensure the scheme responds to the ever evolving needs of young people.

Child Care Services Provision

 230. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the status of the independent review of the cost of providing quality child care; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10760/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The Independent Review of the Cost of Providing Quality Childcare is a critical input to the on-going reform of childcare in Ireland and is commitment in the Programme for Government.

  This Review seeks to:

  - Analyse the current costs of providing childcare in Ireland and factors that impact on those costs;

  - Develop a model of the unit cost/costs of providing childcare that allows analysis of policy changes and variation in cost-drivers, including the potential impact of increased professionalisation; and

  - Provide an objective, high level market analysis of the childcare sector in Ireland, including analysis of fee levels charged to parents.

  The contract to undertake this Review was awarded to Crowe Horwath in September 2017. Since then, a literature review and preliminary stakeholder engagement has been completed. These initial steps are informing subsequent steps of the Review, including a survey of childcare providers and the development of a cost model and cost calculator.

  The survey of childcare providers is currently being finalised and is due to be piloted in the coming week with a view to rolling out the national survey in early March.

  This Review is expected to take approximately 10 months to complete with the final report expected in June 2018.

Departmental Advertising Campaigns

 231. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the details of each instance of advertorial content commissioned by her Department and agencies under its remit in the past 12 months; the date this content was published; the purpose of this content; the cost of its publication; the publication or platform on which it was published, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10767/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Details of the costs incurred on advertorial content over the past twelve months by my Department are set out in the following table. The overall objective is to keep costs of this nature to a minimum.

Date content was published Media platform content was published Purpose of the content Cost
29/05/2017 magicmum.com/mummypages.ie New Measures for more Affordable Childcare €9,840
12/06/2017 Herfamily.ie New Measures for more Affordable Childcare €4,920
05/06/2017 Rollercoaster.ie New Measures for more Affordable Childcare €4,920


  The purpose of the content was to raise awareness of the new measures, available from September 2017, to make childcare more affordable. 68,000 of the estimated 70,000 beneficiaries are now in receipt of these new supports. The affordable childcare website highlighted in the above formats received over half a million views from parents in the run up to the introduction of these measures.

  As regards the agencies under the remit of my Department, both the Adoption Authority of Ireland and Oberstown Children Detention Campus have indicated that they did not incur any costs. I have requested Tusla, the Child and Family Agency and the Office of the Ombudsman for Children to contact the Deputy directly in the matter.

Community Services Programme

 232. Deputy Eamon Scanlon Information on Eamon Scanlon Zoom on Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring the status of Pobal funding for a community service organisation (details supplied); if funding will continue until the end of 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10457/18]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring The Community Services Programme (CSP) supports community organisations to provide local services through a social enterprise model.  Around 425 organisations are supported under the CSP, with funding provided as a contribution to the cost of a manager and an agreed number of full-time equivalent (FTE) positions. 

The organisation in question has been awarded a one-year grant agreement to end-December 2018.  The CSP grant includes a contribution towards the cost of a manager and five FTEs from January to June 2018, and a manager and two FTEs from July to December 2018.  The organisation will also receive an operational grant of €7,000 in 2018. 

The original grant is being maintained from January to June 2018 to allow the organisation transition to the lower level of support.  Thereafter, support will be revised to reflect CSP-appropriate activity currently being carried out by the organisation.  The re-contracting process, which included an unsuccessful appeal by the organisation, has been completed by Pobal and my Department is not in a position to alter the decision at this stage.

The organisation will have an opportunity to resubmit a revised business plan to Pobal as part of the re-contracting process for 2019-2020.  The business plan, which must be submitted by end-June 2018, can include a business case for increased support from January 2019 to December 2020.  A decision on funding for the organisation for 2019-2020 will be taken towards the end of this year.

Local Improvement Scheme Administration

 233. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring his plans to widen the criteria for eligibility to the local improvement schemes from the minimum of two persons (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10705/18]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring The Local Improvement Scheme (LIS) is a programme for improvement works on small private/non-public roads.  The eligibility criteria for the scheme are largely based on the Local Improvement Schemes Memorandum published in 2002 by the then Department of Environment and Local Government.

Eligible roads are non-public roads, often leading to houses and important community amenities such as graveyards, beaches, piers, mountains, etc., or other non-public roads that provide access to parcels of land, or provide access for harvesting purposes (including turf or seaweed) for two or more persons. There must be more than one landholder on an LIS road and the road must be open to the public.

I have no plans at present to change these criteria.  It is clear that there is a continuing demand for LIS funding in rural communities across Ireland based on these criteria. I recently announced the allocation of approximately €10 million for the scheme for 2018.  All Local Authorities have been notified of their indicative allocations and have been requested to submit lists of eligible roads to my Department by the end of March.

Departmental Advertising Campaigns

 234. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring the details of each instance of advertorial content commissioned by his Department and agencies under its remit in the past 12 months; the date this content was published; the purpose of this content; the cost of its publication; the publication or platform on which it was published, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10779/18]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring My Department was established on 19 July 2017.  I can confirm that there has been no advertorial content commissioned by my Department or by any of its four agencies: Pobal, the Western Development Commission, the Charities Regulator or Irish Water Safety, from July 2017 to date.

Disability Allowance Eligibility

 235. Deputy Brendan Howlin Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty if a person (details supplied) is on the correct rate of disability allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10488/18]

Minister of State at the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Finian McGrath): Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath On 15 January 2018 this department received notification from Newbridge Intreo Office that this lady’s spouse had made a claim for Jobseekers Benefit (JB).

  The person concerned was requested to supply supporting documentation on 18 January 2018 regarding her spouse’s two employments, which is required by the deciding officer in order to carry out a review of her entitlement.

  On 22 January 2018 we received details regarding the cessation of one employment. A further request for the remaining supporting documentation was sent to this lady on 22 February.

  On receipt of this information a decision will be made and the person concerned will be notified of the outcome of her review.

  I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Applications

 236. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty the status of a carer’s allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10499/18]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an oral hearing of the appeals of the person concerned took place on 11th January 2018. At the oral hearing it was agreed that the person concerned would send in further documentation in support of the appeal and this has now been received by the Appeals Officer. The Appeals Officer will now consider the appeal in the light of all of the evidence submitted, including that adduced at the oral hearing. The person concerned will be notified of the Appeals Officer’s decision when the appeal has been determined.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Appeals

 237. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty the status of a carer’s allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10500/18]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that the appeal from the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer who has decided to convene an oral hearing in this case.

  Every effort will be made to hear the case as quickly as possible and the person concerned will be informed when arrangements for the oral hearing have been made.

  The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

  I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Applications

 238. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty the status of a carer’s allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10501/18]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty  My department received an application for Carer's Allowance (CA) from the person concerned on 12 June 2017.

  One of the qualifying conditions for CA is that the means of the person concerned must be less than the statutory limit.

  Following an investigation it was determined that her means exceeded the statutory limit and that she was therefore not entitled to CA.

  The person concerned was notified on 3 November 2017 of this decision, the reason for it and of her right of review and appeal.

  The department was notified on 1 December 2017 that the person concerned had appealed this decision to the Social Welfare Appeals Office (SWAO). A submission in support of the decision is being prepared and will shortly be forwarded along with the file to the SWAO for determination.

  I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Applications

 239. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty the status of a carer’s allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10502/18]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing full-time care and attention to a person who has such a disability that they require that level of care.

  An application for CA was received from the person concerned on 6 December 2017. The application is currently being processed and once completed, the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.

  I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Appeals

 240. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty the status of a carer’s allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10503/18]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned has been referred to an Appeals Officer who will consider the appeal in light of all of the evidence submitted. It is expected that a decision will issue to the person concerned within the next week.

  The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

  I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Appeals

 241. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty the status of a carer’s allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10504/18]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an Appeals Officer, having fully considered all of the available evidence, has decided to allow the appeal of the person concerned by way of a summary decision. The person concerned has been notified of the Appeals Officer’s decision.   

  The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

  I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Applications

 242. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty the status of a carer’s allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10505/18]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing full-time care and attention to a person who has such a disability that they require that level of care.

  An application for CA was received from the person concerned on 10 November 2017. The application is currently being processed and once completed, the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.

  I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Labour Activation Programmes Data

 243. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty the number of adult dependants on a social welfare labour activation scheme in each of the years 2010 to 2017, by county, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10508/18]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty The following table gives details of the number of recipients of weekly Working Age Employment Support payments who were in receipt of Qualified Adult Allowances, at the end of each year 2010 to 2017 and at end-January 2018.

  Qualified Adult Allowances in payment at end-year (2010-2017) and end-January 2018

  2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Jan

2018
Back to Work Allowance Employee(1) 116 17 4 2          
Back to Work Enterprise allowance scheme 2581 4101 3642 3445 3723 3907 3,562 3,089 3,000
Part-time Job Incentive       43 53 57 72 55 18
TUS - Community Work Placement Initiative     1,268 1,895 2,056 1,889 1,703 1,547 1,510
JobBridge(2)     596 755 869 618 288 4 5
Gateway           657 185 13 10
Community Employment Schemes (excluding Supervisors)(3)     4,152 5,740 6,685 6,748 6,365 n/a n/a
Back to Education Allowance 1,894 2,317 2,487 2,701 2,594 2,051 1,633 1,390 1,376


  (1) This scheme was closed to new applications from 1st May 2009

  (2) This scheme was closed to new applications from 21st October 2016

  (3) The Community Employment scheme has recently moved to a new computer system. Some reports on the scheme are not yet available.

Social Welfare Overpayments

 244. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty the reason correspondence was issued to a person (details supplied) in County Donegal on an overpayment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10531/18]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty Following an investigation by the Department’s Special Investigation’s Unit, the person concerned was determined to be working and claiming jobseekers payments. The Department’s decision on this claim was sent to the person at the end of January 2018. As a result of the findings of the investigation, an overpayment of €2,105.60 was assessed.

My understanding is that no appeal has been made against this decision and that the correspondence relates to the Department’s efforts to recover the sums overpaid. The person concerned can get further information on this matter from the Intreo Centre in Letterkenny.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy..

State Pension (Contributory)

 245. Deputy Thomas Byrne Information on Thomas Byrne Zoom on Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty the reason and the circumstances in which a person (details supplied) has had a pension withdrawn. [10532/18]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty The person concerned was the beneficiary of an Increase for qualified adult (IQA) on their spouse’s state pension (contributory) until 21 October 2010.

The IQA is a means-tested pension increase that can be awarded to a state pension (contributory) recipient whose spouse/civil partner/co-habitant is being wholly or mainly maintained by them, and where their adult dependant’s personal means from any source(s) do not exceed certain weekly income limits. This Increase is payable at the maximum rate where the adult dependant’s weekly means are assessed at €100 or less. Where their weekly means exceed €100, and up to a maximum of €310, a tapered, reducing IQA scale applies. Weekly means greater than €310 per week exceed the current statutory limit for this payment.

Following a review of the IQA in 2010, it came to light that the person concerned had undisclosed means from employment and capital from a sale of property. As a result their means were in excess and this allowance was stopped.

If the circumstances of the person concerned have changed, it is open to their spouse to reapply for this allowance on their state pension (contributory).

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy..

Community Employment Schemes Administration

 246. Deputy Jack Chambers Information on Jack Chambers Zoom on Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty the process for a person or body to set up or become a manager of a community employment scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10533/18]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty Community Employment (CE) projects are typically sponsored by groups wishing to benefit the local community, namely voluntary and community organisations and, to a lesser extent, public bodies involved in not-for-profit activities. Such projects provide a valuable service to local communities and may also provide training and educational opportunities to jobseekers. The Department’s priority in supporting CE is having access to schemes that can provide jobseekers and other vulnerable groups with good quality work experience and training qualifications to support their progression into employment.

With regard to new projects, an initial contact is received from a potential new sponsor who is given a copy of the Community Employment (CE) Procedures Manual and invited to attend a formal briefing given by a Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) Officer. The formal briefing will cover the following:

- Presentation on key responsibilities of the Sponsor (Employer)

- Explanation of Application Process and Procedures

- Questions and Answers

The DEASP Officer will assess whether the proposed project complies in outline form with the criteria for CE. The officer will also assess the suitability/compatibility of the proposed sponsor to manage the project (based on the background of the individuals involved, their bona fides, history and former achievements). Where the DEASP Officer is satisfied that all the requirements are met, he/she will give the potential sponsor the “Community Employment Sponsor Application Pack”.

All completed applications from new sponsors are appraised and approved by the relevant DEASP Division and submitted to the DEASP Employment Programmes Policy Unit for review. This is to ensure that the proposed application is in line with the current direction of CE and that a budget allocation is available.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Community Employment Schemes Operation

 247. Deputy Jack Chambers Information on Jack Chambers Zoom on Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty the reason some community employment schemes are of two, three and six years in duration; the process and criteria for the way in which a person can extend their community employment scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10534/18]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty In the context of the economic recovery, my Department undertook a review of the work programmes in 2016. Arising from the review, the Government agreed to implement changes to the qualifying conditions for Community Employment (CE) in order to broaden access to a wider range of people.

These new rules were implemented from July 2017. In general all placements will now be for one year only - if a CE participant is undertaking training to achieve a major award, their time can be extended by up to 2 year to allow them to complete the training which will enhance their overall employment prospects. This allows for 3 years continuous participation on CE. Those over 55 years of age can also remain on CE for three years. An overall lifetime limit of 6 years will apply to CE participants (7 years if on a disability payment). A person may re-qualify for CE after 12 months of being in receipt of a qualifying social welfare payment, provided they have not reached their 6 year overall lifetime limit.

Participation on CE is intended to be for a temporary fixed-term. These placements are not full-time sustainable jobs. Overall participation limits are in place to ensure that as many unemployed people as possible are able to benefit from the scheme. My Department’s priority in supporting work programmes is to provide access to good quality work experience and training qualifications to support the progression into employment of jobseekers and other vulnerable groups.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy..


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