Minister Burton visits Monaghan and meets with Local Groups

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The Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton T.D., visited County Monaghan today (Friday, 28th June 2013) where she met with local development company, Monaghan Integrated Development Limited. She also met with Ability Activation North East in Carrickmacross and visited the Web Activate Programme, a MOMENTUM Programme based at Monaghan Education Centre in Knockaconny.

Established in 2008, Monaghan Integrated Development delivers a range of programmes which focus primarily on promoting social inclusion and supporting enterprise development and job creation. It also enables access to education, training and lifelong learning and helps local community groups in identifying needs and developing programmes to address these needs. The company's main office is based in Castleblaney with three sub offices located in Ballybay, Carrickmacross and Clones.

Monaghan Integrated Development also employs a Community Economic Development Officer who works with unemployed people who are considering self-employment. As part of its pre-start-up enterprise support, Monaghan Integrated Development holds information seminars throughout the county. It also provides training and mentoring supports to assist each individual in developing their business idea.

The Minister met with Gabriel O'Connell, Chief Executive of Monaghan Integrated Development and his staff of 36 who are employed in a range of programmes within the company. Currently, the company has 40 participants with two supervisors participating on the Rural Social Scheme and it has 100 participants with five supervisors engaged in a Tús scheme.

Speaking about the schemes, Minister Burton said: "The Rural Social Scheme and Tús are proving to be extremely successful throughout Monaghan with several local communities and voluntary bodies benefitting from them. This year, my Department will spend €45 million on the Rural Social Scheme and €96.2 million on Tús, highlighting their importance to communities across the country."

The aim of the Rural Social Scheme is to provide an additional source of income to low-income farmers who are getting specified social welfare payments. The type of work undertaken by participants on the Rural Social Scheme varies from environmental maintenance work and maintenance of sporting facilities to projects on heritage centres.

Tús is a community work placement initiative aimed at providing up to 5,000 short-term, quality work opportunities for those who are unemployed for more than a year. Tús, which was launched in July 2011, is being delivered through the network of 52 Local Development Companies nationally and Údarás na Gaeltachta in Gaeltacht areas.

Minister Burton continued to Carrickmacross where she met with the Ability Activation North East Project, which has been developed by Monaghan Integrated Development Ltd. The project stems from funding of over €7 million provided by the Minister for a range of 14 projects under the Disability Activation Project (DACT) launched last October. The DACT project is jointly funded by the European Social Fund and the Department of Social Protection. It is targeted specifically at the Borders, Midlands and Western regions. The Ability Activation North East Project received funding under Strand 4 of DACT which focuses on how best to establish links between employers and people with disabilities. Since January this year, with the assistance of two Disability Employer Liaison Officers, eight job placements for people with varied abilities have been secured through the project which will run until March 2015. Minister Burton met with the Project Liaison Officers who explained to her how this particular project operates. The Minister said: "This project is an excellent example of employers seeing a person's ability beyond their disability and encouraging them to participate fully in the labour market and in society. Monaghan Integrated Development Ltd is one of three projects that are focusing specifically on how best to establish links between employers and people with disabilities. My Department is committed to supporting people with a disability to participate more fully in society and to become more self-sufficient by providing the supports that they need. The innovative projects which we are financing with the support of the European Social Fund will help us to achieve this."

The Minister also visited the Digital Skills Academy in Knockaconny, the company that created Web Activate, a new digital skills training programme. This company has availed of the Government's MOMENTUM initiative to help deliver this project with 33 participants currently undertaking a range of modules. In the programme, each participant will undertake structured freelance work placements with a range of small Irish businesses in a freelance capacity to build websites and digital strategies. There is a further opportunity for those who successfully complete the programme to apply for participation in the ‘Accredited Web Activators' regional panels; this allows them to work on a fee-paying basis to publish and market their websites.

Minister Burton said: "It is wonderful to see companies such as the Digital Skills Academy utilising Government initiatives such as MOMENTUM to help create opportunities for jobseekers and improve local communities. MOMENTUM helps many long term unemployed jobseekers to gain in-demand skills and to access work in sectors of the economy where there are job opportunities. This particular initiative is aimed at long-term unemployed people by providing them with on-the-job training in the form of work experience modules as well as the development of the workplace skills required to obtain and retain employment."


Last modified:28/06/2013