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Written Answers - Youth Services

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 752 No. 2

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 54.  Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams  asked the Minister for Education and Skills in view of Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  the circular letter 00742011 relating to the cuts in funding to Youthreach services, if this will deter young persons from availing of this scheme. [2966/12]

[311]Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy Ciarán Cannon): Information on Ciaran Cannon Zoom on Ciaran Cannon Circular 74/2012 gave effect to the Budget 2012 decision to reduce allowances paid to Youthreach participants under 18 years of age from €76.65 (16 year olds) and €95.75 (17 year olds) per week to one rate of €40.00 per week. The new rates apply to new entrants under 18 years of age with effect from 1 January 2012.

I am conscious of concerns expressed by some educators that it is not correct to incentivise students to drop out of mainstream second level school so they can instead attend Youthreach courses and receive payments for doing so. However, I remain convinced that the Youthreach provision is an important part of our education system which helps those who find second level school is not for them. I listened carefully and reflected on these two arguments before making the decision to merge and reduce the two payments for Youthreach. I believe the changes made balance both sides of the argument and that Youtreach will remain a well used service.

I am also pleased to inform the Deputy that the number of places available in Youthreach has been maintained — there are almost 6,000 places nationally, with 3,700 provided by VECs in just over 100 Youthreach centres and the majority of the remainder provided by FÁS in Community Training Centres.

Youthreach participants also remain eligible for meal and travel allowances, which have not been reduced, and for free childcare, under the Childcare Education and Training Support (CETS) scheme, administered by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

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