Council takes lead on controversial scheme

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Donegal County Council has become the first local authority to ask its executive not to take part in the controversial Gateway Scheme.

Fourteen county councillors backed the emergency motion tabled by Sinn Féin councillor Mick Quinn on Monday, calling on the council not to cooperate with the scheme which plans to give unemployed people work placements with local authorities.

People who have been unemployed and signing on for at least two years can be selected for the scheme. Refusal to take part can result in the termination or reduction of social welfare payment.

Those selected would be required to work 19.5 hours a week for 22 months, while receiving an extra €20 per week on top of their social welfare payment. Eighty of the 3,000 places will be in Donegal.

Donegal County Manager Seamus Neely said the motion would put the council “in a position of conflict” with the Department of Social Protection. Cllr. Quinn made an appeal to the county manager not to take part in the scheme, which he described as an abuse of the unemployed.




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