Speaking in the Dáil tonight on the Sinn Féin Private Members’ motion which calls on the Government to abandon the Gateway scheme, the party’s spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Peadar Tóibín TD said:
“If it were not for the plethora of dubious new activation schemes and the record level of emigration, the unemployment rate in this state would be double the published rate and would stand at 22.6%.
“To establish whether someone is employed the Quarterly National Household Survey asks if an individual did any paid work in the 7 days ending on a given Sunday even if it was one hour?
“In addition the survey manual states that persons on internships such as TUS and JobBridge and those on Community Employment are considered in paid work. The unequivocal result of this is that unemployment rate is significantly understated.
“In a recent report, the Oireachtas Library Service considered what the real unemployment rate would be if the jobseekers engaged on activation schemes were no longer counted as being employed. They looked at the period to Q3 2013. They found that in the absence of these schemes the unemployment rate for Q3 2013 was 15.9% not the 13% reported. The Government's new ecosystem of dubious activation schemes means that the rate of unemployment is nearly 3% higher than reported.
“Some 127,000 people of working age have emigrated since 2009. Had these people stayed in Ireland the unemployment rate would be 19.7%. If we simply add the number of people in phoney activation schemes the unemployment rate increases to 22.7%, double the figure promoted by the government.
“Just to note we in Sinn Féin are not opposed to activation schemes per say but Gateway will mean citizens will get paid €1 an hour to work alongside others on multiples of that hourly wage for doing the same work.
“There will be no training. It’s a coercive salary swipe.
“The government shed thousands of waged jobs in Local Authorities in the last 3 years and are replacing them with 3,000 unwaged people now. It is blatant displacement, actually costing real paid jobs.”