Young unemployed must be given opportunities in public contracts – Doherty
Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty has said young unemployed people, and particularly apprentices, must be given opportunities for employment in public sector construction contracts taken out by the Government and by local authorities throughout the state.
Senator Doherty called on the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation Batt O’Keeffe to introduce social clauses in local authority and public sector construction contracts to ensure that a sufficient number of apprentices and young unemployed are employed on each project.
Such a scheme has been introduced by the Minister for Regional Development in the Six Counties Conor Murphy MLA and can be seen working in the major A5 road project.
Speaking today Senator Doherty said:
“Sinn Féin’s recently launched policy to tackle the rising problem of youth unemployment examined the possibility of including a social clause in local authority and public sector construction, service and procurement contracts requiring the hiring of a set number of apprentices and young unemployed. Such criteria were introduced by the Minister for Regional Development Conor Murphy in the Six Counties.
“Such a clause would pay dividends in terms of creating local employment opportunities and getting young skilled workers back to work. However the reality is that the political will simply does not exist to implement such an initiative. The Government is more interested in bailing out failed banks than it is in tackling the jobs crisis.
“Sinn Féin has shown, in our recent policy document on youth unemployment and through our campaign, that there is an alternative to dole queues, social welfare cuts and unemployment. This proposal is one of them. The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment would do well to look into this proposal and to take a lead out of Minister Conor Murphy’s book.” ENDS