Dear Community Employment Participant,
As you are aware Joan Burton Minister for social protection announced a 66% cut to the materials and training budgets of all Community Employment Schemes. Following pressure from community groups, labour back benchers and constituents she was forced to back down and call for a review of Community Employment, and pending the outcome of this review no cut backs would take place and no scheme would be threatened by closure. However today I recieved a letter from FAS informing us that they have decided to go a head and implement the cuts prior to the review.
This is another blatant sign that this Government is as arrogant as the last one and does not have the leadership or the capacity to lead us out of this crisis. I accept that there needs to be a review of community employment. I accept that I may have to pay more taxes. I accept that I will have to work even longer hours to achieve better client outcomes for every euro that this state provides. But what I don’t accept is the unfairness of this budget and the arrogance of this Government to make the the most vulnerable in society pay for the crimes of the previous administration. We want a fairer society. This government is widening the divide between the haves and the have nots. Our service Sankalpa is a special CE scheme working with recovering drug users from Finglas and Cabra. CE schemes form part of the national drug strategy in trying to bring about rehabilitation for people on methadone who want an opportunity to give something back to society, who want to learn to read and write, form better relationships with their community and family, who want to create hope for the future of their communities in places like Finglas and Cabra, where the new leaders are gang members, where suicide is too common and where we are being abandoned by so called Government Socialist TD’s in John Lyons, Roisin Shortall and Joe Costello.
I was disappointed last night when listening to President Higgins Christmas message that he too put economic recovery ahead of creating a better society. We will never have a fair society if we prioritize economics over community. If we build communities we will be a stronger nation and we will recovery more quickly and sustain that recovery into future generations. If we sacrifice our vulnerable in an attempt to balance the books, we also sacrifice the republic our founding fathers died to create.
Dr. Tom O Brien