Government criticised over Community Employment

 

The Irish Wheelchair Association has called on the Government to review its decision not to mainstream Community Employment (CE) places within the health sector.

The IWA's Mr Olan McGowan said the Taoiseach "should be ashamed" of himself for what he called a purely political decision that would cause unnecessary hardship for people with disabilities.

Several hundred IWA members protested outside the Dáil this afternoon over what they said were broken promises by the Government over CE posts. Protestors said the loss of 194 CE workers by the end of the year will mean the closure of several Day Resource Centres across the State.

The 46 centres are, for many people with disabilities, their only social outlet during the week according to Mr McGowan. He told ireland.comthat the centres rely on the work of CE support staff to provide transport or personal assistance to those who need it and without them the centres could not operate.

People who qualify for Community Employment, which is essentially a training scheme, can stay on the programme for three years. Mr McGowan said that because of the decision not to make current positions permanent, 194 would go at the end of this year, as those people had completed their three year stint.

This decision, he said, was a complete reversal of the guarantee the IWA had received that CE places in health and education would be made permanent under the terms of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness.

IWA chief executive Mr Seamus Thompson told members who gathered outside the Dáil he was not going to stand by and watch them be cast aside in this time of plenty.

Mr McGowan said the IWA was planning further protests in the coming weeks.