Regina Doherty TD, Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, commended Fingal Leader Partnership’s Strategic Plan when she launched it at Swords County Hall on the 3rd November, saying “I want to commend the plan, it is one of the best plans that I have read in the last number of months.”
She pointed out that, although Fingal as a whole is doing well, there are still many people needing support: “Fingal is a county that can be said to have two faces. One is the second most affluent county in the country but there are still very large areas that are disadvantaged and with needs.”
The Minister spoke very positively about the Tús Programme, which FLP manages, placing over 200 unemployed people every year in work experience placements in community organisations. She said: “I don’t think that I ever met a Tús worker who doesn’t understand and appreciate the valuable service that they are actually providing to the communities that they represent.”
She further highlighted the value of the programme, not only in supporting unemployed people to gain new skills and experience, but also in supporting the community sector. “I know that we use certain programmes as part of labour activation, but I think that there has to be an element and serious acknowledgement of that a lot of our CE Schemes and most importantly all of our TUS Schemes that are employment activation provide real social services and social inclusion in communities where services are otherwise not provided by the State.”
The Minister also spoke strongly about the value of the Jobs Club, which FLP manages in Swords. She observed: “There are lots of reasons why people have been out of work for a while – and as human beings it is easy to get a dent in our elf-esteem and to become anxious and nervous. And the local Jobs Club gives support to people on a daily and a weekly basis, it addresses those issues, it rebuilds confidence and self-esteem.”
She also welcomed the announcement that FLP, together with Blanchardstown Area Partnership, are launching a new Computer Home Support Service for older people, remarking that “We are so technologically advanced that we need to keep pace with that and it is hard for older people to get access to that kind of technology.”
The Minister also spoke positively about the large migrant community in Fingal, which FLP is actively seeking to support: “We need to look after our new Irish population who are coming here for a good reason, because we are welcoming, because we have employment, because we have a beautiful country that they want to be part of and they are enriching our lives and our society, and I hope that we will enrich theirs.”
Also speaking at the launch were Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Mary McCamley, Chair of the FLP Board Chris Harmon, and FLP CEO Chris O’Malley. The launch was also attended by Fingal Chief Executive Paul Reid, Senator James Reilly and Councillors Tony Murphy, Grainne Maguire, Tom O’Leary, David O’Connor, Anne Devitt and Joe Newman.
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