Minister Joan Burton accepted an invitation to lunch from the Allen Area Community Employment Project on Thursday, May 24.
And in beautiful sunshine she was warmly welcomed to the heart of the Allen Area by dozens of people who are benefiting or who have benefited from CE schemes in the area.
“This area has been devastated by the recession,” Deirdre Moran told the Leinster Leader.
“The CE Schemes are a ray of hope for many people,” she added.
The genesis of the visit was a meeting with local TD’s back in February when the Project became concerned at cutbacks that had been announced.
“Deputy Jack Wall made representation to her and she accepted and came to see us.”
A four course meal was laid out for the minister along with locals and the local TDs.
“We explained the way we worked, and gave her a brief idea of what we do.
“Our training budget has been cut, so we highlighted the importance of that to her, and explained that about 46% of all people who have done a CE scheme have returned to employment while another 10% have gone back to education.
“She said she was sympathetic to our cause and she would see what could be done.”
The Minister made presentation of certs to participants and received a presentation from one of our senior citizen Bridie O’Neill of a St. Brigid’s cross from Newbridge Cutlery.
Ms Moran said she was impressed with the warmth from the minster, adding that she had the “height of respect for her”.
“She’s a very pleasant personality. I had no expectations of her, but she’s very pleasant.”