[Sinn Fein]

30th April 2002

Crowe challenges Harney on Community Employment schemes

South Dublin Councillor Seán Crowe today challenged Tánaiste Mary Harney to come clean on the FF/PD government's policy with regard to Community Employment schemes. Crowe was attending a protest by Community Employment workers in Clondalkin and outside Harney's local office in protest at the decision not to renew many CE schemes.

``CE workers are at the frontline of tackling poverty and disadvantage in areas and empowering communities,'' said Seán Crowe. ``These schemes have over the years filled a gap in service provision.

``What we have seen recently, though, is an underhanded policy of phasing out these schemes. For example, managers are being told not to replace staff or take on new workers. ``The loss of these schemes will not only put thousands of CE workers back on the dole; it will also have devastating effects on communities.

``Mary Harney, as the minister with responsibility, should explain the government's policy. The loss of these schemes without an alternative being provided should not be countenanced.''

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