Ó Snodaigh challenges Minister Burtons’s claim that JobBridge host companies receive ‘no benefit’ from the scheme
Sinn Féin Social Protection Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh has today challenged Minister Joan Burton regarding the contents of a letter she sent to the Ceann Comhairle.
The letter was sent to the Ceann Comhairle to outline her reasoning for refusing to provide details requested in a Parliamentary Question submitted by Deputy Ó Snodaigh in which he asked for the names of companies who have used the JobBridge Scheme.
Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:
“In your letter to the Ceann Comhairle you stated that ‘host organisations participate on the scheme on a voluntary basis and receive no payment or other benefit from the state in respect of their participation in the scheme.’
“No benefit Minister? What do you call the 39 hours of work each week undertaken by the JobBridge participant at the expense of the Department of Social Protection?
“JobBridge allows employers to put off recruiting paid staff for nine months and therefore amounts to a benefit of at least €12,144 in wage avoidance per intern that the company takes on.
“You go on to argue in your letter to the Ceann Comhairle that because they get no benefit ‘the organisations concerned have a legitimate expectation that their participation on the scheme will remain confidential.’
“Minister, companies that want to participate on JobBridge have to advertise on a public website. If there is any expectation of confidentiality after-the-fact it’s because you have created it. Now you can un-create it.
“If there are technical barriers to immediately providing the full list of companies and the extent of their use of the scheme then get to work on these. But there should be no delay giving us the names of the 31 companies that have been found to be abusing the scheme.
“The only barrier to making that information public is your personal decision to protect those companies despite the abuses they have committed and despite the public’s legitimate interest in ensuring the transparent and accountable use of public funds.”