Fianna Fáil Senator for Wicklow Pat Casey has welcomed major reforms to the CE, Tus and Rural Social Scheme, announced this week.
Changes announced include the removal of the six-year time limit for all participants on the Rural Social Scheme, eligibility for Tús extended to persons in receipt of Disability Payments and new flexibility to allow CE schemes to directly recruit eligible candidates to fill 30% of places.
Intreo is also to significantly increase the number of referrals to CE with schemes required to offer places to at least 60% of candidates referred.
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.
Senator Casey commented, “These schemes provide vital local services such as childcare, meals on wheels, the maintenance and upkeep of local amenities and other vital work in our communities.
“These are important changes to a programme which gets people back into the workforce and allows them to reskill and take part in society.
“I welcome this Government’s commitment to implementing these good improvements both for the participants and the schemes.
“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 Wicklow Senator added: “Also today, the application process for the ex-gratia payment for CÉ Supervisors and Assistant Supervisors is being opened. This ex-gratia payment will benefit around 2,500 people at a total cost of over €24 million.”