Michael Noonan's remark "a disgraceful slur on the unemployed" - Cllr Kathleen Funchion
Sinn Féin's Cllr Kathleen Funchion has described remarks made by Finance Minister Michael Noonan "as a disgraceful slur on the unemployed."
Cllr Funchion made the comments in response to reports in this morning's media in which Minister Noonan is quoted as saying that some people on the dole "are allergic to work" and "there will be people who will never work."
Minister Noonan is reported to have made the comments while addressing the Kilkenny Chamber of Commerce yesterday.
Cllr Funchion said;
"The remarks represent a disgraceful slur on unemployed people in this state. The Minister's reported words provide a sharp insight into the arrogance at the heart of this government and its contempt for ordinary people.
"The vast majority of those out of work want to work but have been either forced to leave the country, take up low paid work or go on an activation scheme solely aimed at massaging the jobs figures.
"It is clear that the Minister is trying to sow division among ordinary people. He wants those who are working to resent those who are unemployed.
"It is a move straight-out of the Margaret Thatcher playbook.
"It infuriating that these comments are coming from a career-politician who lives on a exorbitant salary at the expense of the Irish people.
"It seems that Minister Noonan hasn't the first clue about what it has been like for the long-term unemployment as his government has with one hand smothered the economy and delivered crushing austerity and cuts with the other. It is hardly surprising given that this a man who has described the scourge of emigration as lifestyle choice.
"Fine Gael think that unemployed people are the problem. Unemployment and the erosion of decent pay and condition are the problems. The government seems unable to grasp that truth.
"Mr Noonan's attempt to demonise people who are struggling to find work will not stand. I am calling on him to retract the remarks immediately.
“It is also important for voters in Carlow Kilkenny to know if David Fitzgerald,the Fine Gael candidate for this by election, agrees with the Minister's comments.
“Is this the message he wants to send to unemployed people in this constituency?”