The Minister for Social Affairs, Séamus Brennan
T.D., today (March 28th 2005) announced funding awards totalling €240,000 towards the cost of running units and centres around the country specialising in providing advice, training and information on welfare rights.
Minister Brennan said that funding of €160,000 will go to the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed (
INOU) to allow it continue to maintain and develop its specialist units, while an award of €80,000 to the Irish Congress of Trade unions (
ICTU) will go towards funding the network of Congress Centres" around the country.
The Minister said that almost €40,000 of the award to the
INOU will go towards the publication of an expanded 2005 edition of the "Working for Work" book. The new edition will include a guide to social welfare 2005 rates of payment,
PRSI rates, Medical Card income guidelines and Rent Supplement levels, and also a "Plain English" guide/glossary to social welfare terms. An online version of the book will also be available on the
The €80,000 award to
ICTU is in recognition of the contribution it has made over the past two decades in the development of information, advice and training services, primarily through the nationwide network of Congress Centres". There are currently 32 Centres-formerly called Centres for the Unemployed-across the country staffed by 729 persons.
In 2004, the Centres dealt with over 400,000 queries and service requests.
ICTU is currently undertaking a re-structuring and re-organisation of the network.
Minister Brennan said: "As employment and social trends in Ireland continue to change and evolve, it is important that organisations like the
INOU and the
ICTU also alter to meet the new challenges. In the past, particularly at times of high unemployment, both made a valued and valuable contribution by offering advice, information, training and other supports to those seeking employment. Today, the unemployment level in Ireland is one of the lowest in the world but there is still a continuing need for supports for those who are seeking help in entering the workforce and for those who are coming to Ireland to work. The information both organisations provide on moving from welfare to work is particularly welcome as I strongly support the making of this transition as seamless and smooth as possible for all involved."