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Social welfare cuts and CE

The impact of social welfare cuts on Community Employment (CE) was raised by Maureen O’Sullivan (ind, Dublin C) (Dail Eireann, Debates, 10th October 2012, 79-81).  Projects were finding it difficult to fill their places, which also meant that the services of projects might not be provided.  Responding for the government, the Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills Ciaran Cannon confirmed that as from 16th January last, new CE participants could no longer claim both their social welfare payment and CE allowance.  New participants received their previous social welfare allowance plus a €20 participation bonus.  Maureen O’Sullivan told him that people would not join CE for the same money as what they got on social welfare and it beggared belief that an incentive had been removed: ‘somewhere along the line, someone is not joining the dots to keep people on these schemes’.  Ciaran Cannon replied, saying that he found it difficult to believe that there was a recruitment crisis on CE.  The numbers on CE and jobseeker’s allowance had increased 20% since the end of last year.  ‘With 450,000 people unemployed and Ireland losing €44m a day, we have to make some difficult decisions’.