Fine Gael Deputy, Peter Burke, said he is delighted to see OIM Athlone securing a €250,000 grant from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise, and Innovation as part of the Community Enterprise Initiative.
A total of €5 million in funding has been approved for 16 projects under the Local Enterprise Offices and 32 projects under the Community Enterprise Initiative.
“There was a huge number of applicants to the initiative and I understand the process was highly competitive so extra praise should be given to the group,” Deputy Burke said. “I attended a briefing with OIM and saw first-hand the fantastic work they do in the community, in relation to youth mentoring and workforce training.
“We have seen that the unemployment rate continues to fall and groups such as these play a huge part on a local level in preparing candidates and young people for work. Along with my colleague Cllr John Dolan, I made a number of representations on behalf of the group to the Department and Minister and I am glad to see that the Government and new Minister Mitchell O’Connor have given OIM the recognition and funding they deserve.”
Deputy Burke spoke this week in the Dáil in relation to jobs and unemployment, and stated that although progress has been made, more needs to be done. During his speech, he referenced the higher rates of unemployment in Westmeath and the review of Jobsbridge, which Deputy Burke supports. He says that we can now afford to offer more lucrative and rewarding schemes for job-seekers, along with more sustainable and permanent jobs.
“We must ensure that all corners of the country see increased employment opportunities and a better quality of life as a result of the economic improvement experienced in the last number of years,”he said. “During the last term, the Fine Gael Government increased employment and got the economy to where it is. We are now the fastest-growing economy in Europe for the second year in a row. Now the challenge is to extend this growth and employment to the regional and rural areas, and initiatives and funding like this display this commitment.