Dáil debates

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Topical Issue Debate

JobPath Implementation

4:15 pm

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

When I was asked would I accept that the Minister could not come to the House because he was otherwise engaged and I was told the Minister of State was coming in, I said that was acceptable because I know he faces the same realities with the same humanity that I face every day. When I set up Tús, it was initially intended to be similar to the rural social scheme whereby participants could make a career out of the scheme. It was intended for those who would never secure commercial employment. I recall when I worked in a co-operative that some staff worked in the commercial timber mill while others worked on a scheme. Some people were doing good work on the scheme but I would not have given them a job in the commercial part of the business for reasons that anybody who understands people knows. The Department sometimes reminds me of a cartoon published in Dublin Opinionmany years ago of Cardinal Henry Newman reading a book he wrote on the university with a caption beneath it saying Cardinal Henry Newman did not understand students because the book was idealistic. There is an ideal in the Department of Social Protection that has been there for a long time that everybody in society is capable of securing a commercial job if he or she only put his or her mind to it. Let us face the reality that people vary in their many manifestations. They are not necessarily better or worse people but some people will never get a commercial job, anymore than someone will ever teach me to play music. I could be trained until the cows come home but I would not be able to play music. I wish I could; I would love to be able to but I cannot. I had all the music classes available as a child but it just did not work.

I am delighted the Minister of State is present and all I can ask him to do is go back to the Minister and ask him to think about all those who visit his clinic and his colleagues' clinics, the reality experienced by the people we meet every day and recognise that a long-term as opposed to a one-year Tús scheme is needed, similar to the rural social scheme, which has done so much good work. Such a scheme would provide gainful occupation for people on a long-term basis. All they are asking for is a small top-up of their dole payment. They would then have the dignity of having somewhere to go and work to do.

It is amazing, as I pointed out when I was in the Department, that we never seem to stop to ask ourselves what would happen to community services in most of Ireland if Tús, CE, RSS and other schemes were stopped. Most of the equivalent work done on these schemes is done by fully paid local authority staff in public parks and so on in Dublin. Will the Minister of State do his best on our behalf? His heart is in the right place.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.