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Harney, Mary

Tuesday, 3 December 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 Nbr. 4


Private Members' Business. - Community Employment Schemes: Motion.

A formidable team.More Button

I am responsible for all the bad things.More Button

I move amendment No. 1:More Button

To delete all words after “Dáil Éireann” and substitute the following:More Button

“recognises the significant role that community employment and other active labour market programmes have made to reducing long-term unemployment from 90,200 in 1997 to 21,800 today;More Button

acknowledges the important contribution that community employment schemes make to projects carried out by community, health and sporting organisations in communities across the country;More Button

supports the Government's restructuring CE in line with changing conditions in the labour market so as to maintain an adequate number of places to meet the needs of the long-term unemployed and con...More Button

notes that the social partners will be consulted on this process through the Standing Committee on the Labour Market.”More Button

Deputy Allen must not be very familiar with my visits to Cork. I have been in places like Mahon and Mayfield and met some of the groups he is talking about.More Button

I am sure he is well informed of my movements, he seems to be able to speak with great authority there.More Button

The Deputy is more than welcome to any official events that I attend in Cork. I am sure he is normally invited, as all public representatives are, to events I go to unless they are private party ma...More Button

I am grateful to Deputy Hogan and his colleagues for tabling this motion and for giving me an opportunity to address Dáil Éireann on this important matter. I very much welcome this de...More Button

This debate also gives me an opportunity to clarify current participation levels on the programme and the estimated participation levels for 2003 as there have been a number of inaccurate comments ...More Button

The Programme for Prosperity and Fairness contained a commitment to reduce overall place numbers on community employment to 28,000 by 2003 through a reallocation of funding equivalent to 5,000 pla...More Button

Mainstreaming involves the transfer of an appropriate level of funding from the FÁS budget for community employment to the relevant Department with primary functional responsibility for the ...More Button

Reports that community employment places are being reduced in the order of 13,000 in the current year are wildly inaccurate. Participation levels on community employment this year will average 28,0...More Button

Public speculation about the level of reductions in community employment in 2003 due to budgetary constraints is also somewhat exaggerated. As indicated in the recently published Estimates volume, ...More Button

A further €46.169 million is being provided for the job initiative programme which will provide for an average of 2,500 places. In addition to the budgetary provision, participation levels on ...More Button

It is important to view current participation levels on community employment in an overall labour market context. According to the CSO's Quarterly National Household Survey, Third Quarter 2002 ther...More Button

It is worth noting overall that despite the reduction in place numbers from 39,420 in April 1998 to in the order of 25,000 places anticipated at the end of 2002, there are still more community empl...More Button

The administration of community employment, including the allocation of places to individual projects, is a matter for FÁS. That agency prioritises projects according to the types of service...More Button

The Government acknowledges the important contribution of community employment to the development of services for local community groups and organisations the length and breadth of the country. A c...More Button

Some 62%, or six out of every ten, of community employment activities in 2002 support community services in health care, community centres and ICTU employment centres. Other areas supported include...More Button

Community employment was originally conceived as an active labour market programme intended to assist the progression of long-term unemployed persons back into work by providing market related wor...More Button

In general, the basis on which community employment has been operated over the years has given rise to two main issues of concern, which have been brought to the fore as community employment levels...More Button

I am aware of increasing concerns in communities as to the impact community employment restructuring and the changed labour market will have on their ability to provide services. In this regard, th...More Button

I would like to avail of this opportunity to advise the House of a number of reviews which are in train and which will have an important bearing on the scale and type of community employment activi...More Button

Policy in regard to the participation of older persons on community employment will also form an important part of that review process. Given that the issues arising have an impact beyond the labo...More Button

The outcome of these various initiatives will inform the Government's consideration of options for the future of community employment. Since it was launched in September 2000 there has been a signi...More Button

The budget approved for the social economy programme in the current year is €20.5 million compared with €6.6 million in 2001. This funding is now fully committed to the social economy ent...More Button

There was no social economy in the Deputy's day.More Button

An evaluation of the social economy programme is being undertaken and this will inform the future direction of the programme.More Button

I assure the House that the Government is fully aware of the wide-ranging nature of services now provided through community employment—More Button

—and to the challenges presented for individuals and communities by the transition to a more appropriate level of participation. We will enhance the labour market role of community employment...More Button

I omitted to say at the start that I wish to share my time with the Minister of State, Deputy Michael Ahern, if that is in order.More Button

When was any such worker deported?More Button

The Deputy should deal with the facts.More Button

Written Answers. - World Trade Organisation Negotiations.

Was asked: if she will report on the current status of the World Trade Organisation negotiations.More Button

The WTO declaration agreed at the fourth trade ministerial meeting in Doha, in November 2001, provides for a new round of multilateral trade liberalisation negotiations across a broad spectrum of t...More Button

Negotiations have already commenced in earnest across a broad range of issues. A substantial WTO negotiating structure is now in place including, at its pinnacle, the trade negotiation committee, T...More Button

Irish trade negotiators are fully engaged with and participate in these discussions at both EU and WTO fora. At this stage of the negotiations, preparations are being made for the conclusion of an ...More Button

The launch of a comprehensive trade round in Doha last year was the best way to address the challenges resulting from significant and far-reaching economic and technological changes, to promote equ...More Button

Overall, Ireland along with our EU partners are strongly of the view that maintaining a strong World Trade Organisation is of fundamental importance to meet the economic and trade challenges ahead....More Button

Written Answers. - Departmental Properties.

Was asked: if she will identify by location, acreage and other details, the State properties in her Department which are being considered for sale or are currently available for sale.More Button

All our buildings are under the management of the Office of Public Works. With the exception of the Kildare Street building all our buildings are leased. There is no intention to sell the Kildare S...More Button

Written Answers. - MIAB Recommendations.

Was asked: when the action plan for the implementation of the 67 recommendations made by the Motor Insurance Advisory Board will be published; and the reason for the delays in publishing it when she admits th...More Button

The action plan to which the Deputy refers has been published. I launched its publication on 25 October 2002.More Button

Written Answers. - Local Employment Service.

Was asked: the support measures her Department offers for the development of economic opportunity for those within the Traveller community.More Button

Written Answers. - Job Losses.

Was asked: if the application made by the workers of IFI to the Labour Court regarding severance payments, pension shortfalls and unfair dismissals will be heard; and if her Department will participate in Lab...More Button

I am advised by the Labour Court that as of 12.00 noon on Monday, 2 December, it had not received any application from or on behalf of IFI workers.More Button

Was asked: if full severance payments are being paid to the workers of IFI.More Button

Was asked: if she will have arrangements made for the payment of compensation to ex-employees (details supplied) without any pre-conditions being imposed on these people.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 147 and 154 together.More Button

Former workers in IFI will get their full statutory redundancy entitlements and I can confirm that my Department is aiming to issue payments in respect of such entitlements before Christmas in resp...More Button

In addition, the shareholders, while there is no legal obligation to do so, have established a special ex-gratia severance fund with almost €24.5 million for the workers. When combined with st...More Button

Both the Irish Government and ICI believe that in setting up the ex gratia fund they are providing severance arrangements which are fair and reasonable in the circumstances. It will be for the ex-g...More Button

At this stage, most of the workers who lost their jobs as a result of the liquidation have received an interim payment of €5,000 from the fund to help them in the short term pending the determ...More Button

Agreement has also been reached with the unions in relation to further discussions on the wording of the waiver which workers will be required to sign in order to collect any further payment from t...More Button

Was asked: the steps she has taken to compensate the workers of IFI for the ?25 million shortfall in their pension fund in view of the fact that her Department, as 51% shareholder, did not ensure that the ful...More Button

Even though it is now over a month since the company announced that it was to close, the position in relation to pensions remains unclear. This is unavoidable given the complexity of pensions issue...More Button

However, I should point out that the problems seem to stem mainly from the impact of adverse stock market movements on the pensions funds investments which are managed by boards of trustees acting...More Button

I am not aware of any obligations on the part of the government or on the part of ICI, the other shareholder in IFI, in relation to the pensions funds. It is clear that the uncertainty surrounding ...More Button

Was asked: if she will investigate the unfair dismissals of all the IFI workers in view of the fact that section 8 of the Protection of Employment Act, 1977, required that 30 days' notice be given which did n...More Button

Written Answers. - Departmental Expenditure.

Was asked: the percentage of her Department's fixed line budget which is allocated to her Department's largest telephone supplier.More Button

The percentage of my Department's budget allocated to my Department's largest supplier of fixed line telephone services is 100%. This figure represents all voice telephone services which are suppli...More Button

While a small amount of my Department's total telephone budget, voice and data, is allocated to other suppliers for data services – i.e. Internet connectivity – the overall percentage o...More Button

Written Answers. - Company Closures.

Was asked: if she has received the accountants report into a failed company (details supplied); and if so, if she will make the report available.More Button

I have not received an accountant's report on the company in question. The High Court appointed a liquidator to the company to act on its behalf in January this year. The liquidator is an officer o...More Button

Section 221 of the Companies Act, 1963, provides that when a final order is made to wind up a company, a copy of the order must be forwarded by the company to the Registrar of Companies for registr...More Button

Under the Company Law Enforcement Act, 2001, liquidators have certain duties to report to the Director of Corporate Enforcement. For example, where a company is insolvent, liquidators are obliged t...More Button

Section 56 of the Company Law Enforcement Act, 2001, provides that the director may, on his own initiative or at the request of a member, contributory or creditor of the company, request a liquidat...More Button

Written Answers. - Official Language Equality.

Was asked: the additional costs which have arisen from the obligations on her Department in relation to the adoption by the Government in July 2002 of official language equality as one of the three new princi...More Button

The Government adopted three new principles for quality customer service in July 2000. One of these principles was official languages equality to provide quality services through Irish and or bilin...More Button

No additional costs have arisen for my Department arising from this principle.More Button

Written Answers. - FÁS Training Programmes.

Was asked: the incentives in place to encourage and support Irish small and medium enterprises to invest in e-learning; her plans for the future in this regard; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers. - Protection of Young Persons.

Was asked: if she has satisfied herself that there are sufficient inspectors to enforce the Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act, 1996; and if she has satisfied herself that sufficient measures are in...More Button