Date Released: 22 December 2011
SIPTU has sought a meeting with the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, to discuss a Directive issued by FAS Community Services Unit in relation to its Materials and Training Budget for 2012. The Directive states that FAS will impose a proposed cut of 66% in materials and training grants for community employment schemes from January next.
This is despite recent commitments given to SIPTU President, Jack O’Connor by the Tánaiste, Eamon Gilmore, and Joan Burton that a review of CE schemes to establish their viability will be carried out before any further developments as the result of cuts announced in the December Budget.
SIPTU Sector Organiser, Eddie Mullins, said that FAS must be completely unaware of the commitments given to Jack O’Connor by the two ministers.
In separate letters to Jack O’Connor earlier this month, the Labour Party ministers stated that “community employment schemes provide a very important and valued contribution to social employment training and progression for unemployed people.” They said that no CE scheme will closed pending a review of their viability.
“The purpose of the review will be to establish the on-going viability of each scheme in the context of the overall objectives of the CE programme and recognising in particular the community and social value of each scheme,” the ministers wrote.
“In the event that the reduction in the training and material grant announced in the Budget creates financial difficulties for schemes that would otherwise be viable, the Department of Social Protection will be in a position to fund such schemes from the overall Departmental Budget,” they wrote.
Eddie Mullins said; “In the context of these commitments the officials within the FAS Community Services Unit should immediately withdraw the Directive and allow the review to take place as promised.”