EC proposes €35m fund to help unemployed Irish construction workers

The European Commission has today proposed to provide Ireland with €35m from the European Globalisation adjustment Fund (EGF) to help 5,987 redundant construction workers across Ireland back into employment.

The money, requested by the Irish authorities through three applications, will cover ex-workers from 3,348 mostly small enterprises.

The proposal now goes to the European Parliament and the EU's Council of Ministers for their approval.

"Construction in Europe, particularly in Ireland, has plummeted and its workers are facing huge difficulties in finding new opportunities," said László Andor, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion.

"I am confident that the support and training the EGF can provide to the Irish workers will help them and allow a smooth transition to a new job.

"These applications demonstrate how the Fund benefits workers from small and medium sized enterprises as well as those from larger companies."

The Irish applications relate to a total of 9,089 redundancies from small- and medium-sized enterprises operating in the construction sector. The dismissals were a direct consequence of the financial and economic crisis.

Of the total 9,089 workers made redundant, the 5,987 workers with the greatest difficulties of re-integration into the labour market are targeted for assistance from the EGF.

The package will help the workers by providing them with occupational guidance, training programmes (vocational/second & third level education programmes), enterprise/self-employment supports, and training allowances and income supports.

It is an innovative feature of these applications that 2,258 redundant apprentices will be helped with on- and off-the-job training by means of alternating temporary employment and college education, enabling them to finish their apprenticeships and gain internationally recognised qualifications.

The total estimated cost of the package is €55m, of which the European Union has been asked to provide EGF assistance of €35.7m.

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