The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage and Local Fingal TD, Darragh O’Brien has welcomed the announcement of significant reforms to the Community Employment (CE), Tús and the Rural Social Schemes (RSS).
As part of the reforms announced there will be greater flexibility to allow CE schemes to directly recruit eligible candidates to fill 30% of places. Eligibility for Tús will be extended to persons in receipt of Disability Payments and the six year time-limit for all participants on the Rural Social Scheme is being removed.
These measures are in addition to previous changes introduced earlier this year which allow participants on CE and RSS who are aged over 60 to remain on schemes until retirement.
The purpose of CE and Tús is to provide long term unemployed participants with work experience in their local communities to help them find employment. There are currently over 19,000 participants on CE, almost 5,000 participants on Tús and just under 3,000 participants on the Rural Social Scheme. Government investment in the three schemes will amount to over €500million in 2022. The Rural Social Scheme provides a supplementary income for low-income farmers and fishermen/women who are unable to earn an adequate living.
The application process for the ex-gratia payment for CÉ Supervisors and Assistant Supervisors has also been opened. On reaching retirement age, eligible CE supervisors and CE assistant supervisors will receive a once off payment in respect of time employed by CE schemes. This ex-gratia payment will benefit around 2,500 people at a total cost of over €24 million.
Commenting Minister O’Brien said, “The role and the value of these schemes cannot be underestimated. These schemes support a range of vital local services here in Fingal in areas such as childcare, meals on wheels, the maintenance and upkeep of local amenities and other vital work in our communities.
“These significant and positive reforms will extend the eligibility criteria for these schemes and will also provide additional flexibility to local supervisors when it comes to the recruitment and retention of participants, something which is needed in this time of record employment,” he concluded.