Thursday, 22 December 2011

SIPTU Community Protest Rally at Dáil

09 December 2011 - SIPTU is organising a protest rally at Daíl Eireann today Friday 9th December at 2pm to protest against proposed Budget cuts to Community Employment Schemes. The protest rally is being supported by a range of organisations including INOU, OPEN, Citywide Drugs Crisis Campaign, North Inner City CE Network, ICTU Community Committee, Congress Centre Network, and Lone Parents Campaign for Change and Mental Health Ireland.

The future viability of hundreds of Community Employment schemes across the country employing tens of thousands of people is now in doubt following a 66% cut in funding announced as part of Budget 2012. Materials and training grants for schemes providing vital services to children, the elderly, the disabled and disadvantaged have been slashed from €1,500 per participant to just €500 for next year leaving many schemes struggling to survive in their present format.

Single parents and people with disabilities will also be unable to retain a “top up” welfare payment if they enter CE from 2012 effectively making CE financially unviable.  This latter cut will mean a difference of over €200 a week to future CE lone parent/disabled participants.
Speakers at the rally include Andrea Galvey from the Lone Parents Campaign Group, Alibhe Smyth from OPEN, Grace Wills a Community Employment Supervisor with Clondalkin Centre for the Unemployed and Helena McNeill, President of SIPTU’s Community Sector Division.

Frances Byrne, Chief Executive of OPEN representing lone parents in Ireland summarised the impact of these changes on one parent families: “According to official statistics lone parents are Ireland’s poorest families and have already been hit with deep cuts to their social welfare payments in the last three budgets. This disgraceful decision to abolish family payments for those who take up Community Employment will mean fewer and fewer lone parents will be able to move from welfare to work, thus consigning our families to worsening poverty and deprivation.”

SIPTU Campaign Coordinator, Darragh O’Connor, stated; “In areas of disadvantage Community Employment is often the only access people have to work, training and education. The Government has said that fairness is a core principle with regard to this budget. Let them demonstrate that is the case by reversing these savage cutbacks which threaten the entire future of Community Employment in our country.

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