Wednesday, 12 March 2014
Gateway Scheme: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members]
The Gateway scheme is certainly workfare. The only choice individuals will be given is to either participate or risk having their social welfare payments reduced or cut off altogether. The Unite trade union has stated that the scheme may well place Ireland in breach of the UN Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which relates to the right to freely choose one's work, and the European Convention on Human Rights, which states that no-one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour. Last week the Taoiseach was at pains to tell us that people love to do things for their communities. Of course they do. In the region of 50 people are involved with the Wexford Youths football team on a voluntary level. If I stated that I would give them €1 per hour for what they do and that they would be paid members as a result, I do not think many of them would stick around. These individuals take pride in being volunteers. People like to and take pleasure from contributing to their communities. However, informing people that they must do certain work for which they will be paid €20 per week in addition to their dole is an insult. How in God's name do those in government expect people to put up with that?
Andreas Fischer-Lescano, a professor of European law and politics at the University of Bremen, recently indicated that as a result of the way we have implemented antisocial austerity policies, placed financial stability above all other considerations and ignored social stability, we may be actually breaking the law.
This country is eager and interested in some laws being kept but not as interested in keeping others. Looking after those who most need the Government's help is no longer high on the agenda. This should be reversed. It is an insult to the people.