Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has revealed that the party’s alternative budget for 2019 “recognises the wonderful work of the Walk-Peer project in Louth. In Sinn Féin’s alternative budget for 2019 we propose rolling out the Walk-Peer experience across the state. We have allocated five million Euro to set-up a Walk-Peer programme of employment supports for young people with disabilities in every county.”
The Louth TD said: “Walk-Peer was one of 14 disability activation projects that were originally jointly funded by the Department of Social Protection and the European Social Fund. Its objective was to provide people with disabilities with the means to avail of progression, education and development opportunities within the world of work.
The programme ended three years ago. Since then, along with others, I have lobbied the government to sustain funding for the Louth project because of the exemplary work it does and the help it provides citizens with disabilities.
WALK Peer is a model programme which has dramatically changed the lives of young people with disabilities in my constituency. Scores of young people have availed of the programme, and very positive outcomes have been achieved by all who participated in it. WALK Peer has proven to be a very successful in ensuring that young people with disabilities are afforded equal access to employment, education and training.
Consequently, Sinn Féin now wants to roll the Walk-Peer experience out across the state. In our alternative budget for 2019 we have allocated five million Euro to set-up a Walk-Peer programme of employment supports for young people with disabilities in every county. In addition we will increase by 10% the Wage Subsidy Scheme which supports people with disabilities.”
Plans to put a hazardous waste facility in Warrenpoint, Co Down on the shores of Carlingford Lough has caused concern on both sides of Carlingford Lough.
ReGen Waste plans to develop a new waste management facility in Warrenpoint Harbour but given the delicate ecosystem in Carlingford Lough, unprecedented interest has understandably been sparked.
Cllr Antóin Watters who represents the Dundalk Carlingford area said “I have been approached by a number of constituents who have expressed concern that the plans for this facility were being advanced behind closed doors and away from public eyes. Following contact with our newly elected MP for the South Down area, Chris Hazzard, ReGen Waste representatives assured him that there will be a comprehensive community consultation process taking place over the summer ‘to ensure full transparency around this project and to give stakeholders an opportunity to have any concerns around this proposal addressed.’ I welcome that confirmation.”
“Chris Hazzard MP has called on the people in his area to scrutinize these plans and I am calling on people from North Louth to do the same. In order to help facilitate that scrutiny, I have today asked ReGen Waste to make a copy of the application available to Louth County Council so they can make it available for viewing in Dundalk.”
Chris Hazzard MP
“Given the delicate environmental setting of Warrenpoint Harbour on Carlingford Lough, we need to be very careful and wary of the development of anything that would be detrimental to that.”
Cllr Watters welcomed the fact that the “licence application for this project has been made available to the public in Warrenpoint Town Hall from Monday 10th July. I hope to update the public in Louth as to when it will be available in Dundalk. I would urge as many as possible from North Louth to study this application and I also call on Louth County Council to be very familiar with it as well.”
“We expect that as time goes on this project will attract interest from environmental campaigners from further afield but it is of the utmost importance that local people on both sides of the Lough are familiar with the project and any concerns they have are addressed.”
Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has welcomed the commitment by the Minister for Disabilities Finian McGrath during Topical Issues in the Dáil today to “meet the families of young disabled people who have been participating in the WALK Peer project in Louth.”
Teachta Adams said:
“The Minister acknowledged in his contribution to the Dáil that WALK Peer is a very good project for disabled young people and is good value for money.
It makes no sense that this project should come to an end July because of the failure of the government to find a relatively small amount of money.
I have urged the Minister for Disabilities and the Minister for Social Protection to take whatever steps are necessary to keep open the Louth WALK Peer project which is threatened with closure at the end of July.”
Note to Editor:
WALK Peer is one of 14 disability activation projects that were jointly funded by the Department of Social Protection and the European Social Fund. The programme began in 2012 and ended last summer.
The purpose of DACT (disability activation project), which was established under the ‘Providing Equal Employment Routes’ (PEER) project, was to “explore a variety of routes towards ensuring that people with disabilities were enabled to avail of progression, education and development opportunities within the world of work”.
The Louth project remained open over the last year because it received funding from the Ulster Bank under a Skills and Opportunity Fund.