Crowe condemns Government coercion of unemployed
Speaking today after the Government announced plans to reduce from six months to three the amount of time people can claim unemployment benefit Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Social and Family Affairs said “a system of coercion is wrong without providing the necessary education, training, skills and childcare supports to enable people to return to work or gain employment.”
The Dublin South-West TD said that: “Our unemployment rate currently stands at 4.4 per cent, roughly 150,000 people. The Government and their allies in the media continue to stereotype our unemployed as if they all wish to remain long-term social welfare dependents. In reality numerous barriers exist for people wishing to find suitable employment, from poor education, low skill levels, lack of adequate transport and the high cost of childcare for parents.
“For example, 23 per cent of lone parents have either no formal education or primary level only. While the Government plans to force the 40 per cent of lone parents receiving unemployment benefit into employment, they should instead encourage them by addressing their educational disadvantage, among other factors. Coercion is not the answer.
“While I welcome efforts to get people into gainful employment we must ensure that people are not trapped in low paid, non-unionised jobs. The actual quality of jobs needs to be improved. While the Government restates the mantra that a job is the best route out of poverty the reality is that nearly 14 per cent of households in poverty are headed by those with a job, and the number of so-called ‘working poor’ is steadily increasing.
“Those reliant on social welfare benefits have become justifiably cynical in that while the authorities continue to hound them, corrupt politicians have amassed fortunes without major repercussions and big business is able to avail of paying it’s fair share to the Irish people.”