‘Last year and earlier this year, I met with the former Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar TD, and made representations to him to have the Tus Scheme made more flexible and not be as time bound as it is, currently subject to the maximum time of 12 months. Those involved in Tus Achemes in Clane, Donadea, Leixlip and Celbridge have met me to discuss the problems associated with the way the Tus Scheme is currently structured and administered.’
“The Tús initiative, which is a community work placement scheme, provides short-term working opportunities for unemployed people. The work is to benefit the community, and is provided by community and voluntary organisations in both urban and rural areas, and comes under the overall responsibility of the Department of Social Protection. Participants work for 19 ½ hours a week and the placement lasts 12 months” stated Deputy O’Rourke.
“When the placement finishes after 12 months, participants then sign on again and cannot participate in the Tús Scheme again for 3 years. This is too restrictive and we need flexibility to, in certain cases, allow the Tus Scheme be extended for longer than 12 months, which would be mutually beneficial for both the participant and the community group.”
“Indeed, the previous Minister did agree with me, at the time, that greater flexibility should be considered and I have now met with the new Minister to press again to ensure that the Tus Scheme be administered with greater flexibility.”
“Many of my parliamentary colleagues have also raised this issue and I believe that it is possible to get cross party support so that the Tus Scheme be restructured and become more flexible. Community groups are losing skilled workers and there are situations where their services could be provided for a longer period than 12 months” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.