She made the call on foot of Minister Regina Doherty’s announcement that she is to set up an interdepartmental group to examine the future of CE schemes.
Deputy Smyth explained, “As a Party Fianna Fáil has always been a strong supporter and advocate of Community Employment Schemes. These programmes not only benefit participants but also the community by providing essential services.
“While I acknowledge that the Minister has said that she wishes to maintain the social inclusion places on CE schemes , which is of course welcome, I am concerned that she is seeking to remove these schemes from her Department and place them elsewhere, thereby relinquishing responsibility for them.
“Since coming into government almost eight years ago Fine Gael has concentrated on the activation element of CE schemes and in my opinion the Party has not wholly valued or appreciated the important social inclusion element of these schemes and the vital work that they do.
“I am therefore calling on Minister Doherty to ensure that any reorganisation of CE is holistic and sensitive to the needs of participants. Moreover, it is imperative that whichever Department assumes responsibility for CE recognises that they provide essential services and are an intrinsic part of communities the length and breadth of the country”.