Galway TD criticises “unacceptable” 3,000 Community Employment scheme vacancies

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Delays in referrals and a problems with allowing over 55s have lead to thousands of vacancies on Community Employment Schemes Galway TD Seán Canney has said.

The Department of Social Protection has said that there are over 3,000 vacancies on CE schemes around the country.

Deputy Canney said that these numbers are “unacceptable” considering the “vital services” CE schemes deliver for local communities.

“These CE Schemes provide vital services to communities, local authorities, disability groups and are an integral component in delivering services”.

“Due to issues with the interpretations of rules within the scheme for participants over 55 years of age and the breakdown in the referral system from the Department they are now over 3,000 unfilled places on the schemes nationally.”

The Galway East TD said that Minister Heather Humphreys has assured him that issues regarding over 55s will be resolved.

The Minister and department officials also said that a “better and more frequent” system of referrals will be introduced for Community Employment schemes.

Earlier this month, Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice highlighted that a number over 55s who are entitled to stay on the scheme for up to six years consecutively are instead being forced to take a year out after three years, and then reapply to the scheme.

Thus us due to a change of the rules introduced for the Community Employment Scheme, but should not apply to people over 55 who joined before July 3, 2017.