Tuesday, 5 February 2019
JobPath Programme: Motion [Private Members]
I compliment Sinn Féin on the motion. I generally find the staff of the Department helpful, courteous and understanding. There seem to be instructions, however, coming from on high all the time to take a draconian, Victorian view towards people who are unemployed. There seems to be a view out there, coming from the very top of the Minister's Department, that there are plenty of able-bodied people who are mentally and physically able to work who are too lazy to work or to look for a job. I do not believe that.
Reference was made to the drop in the unemployment figures. If 100,000 jobs are created in the economy the likelihood is that 100,000 people will take up employment. It is as simple as that. The figures for unemployment are going to come down. The idea that the Minister can claim that all of the decrease in the unemployment figures is due to JobPath is absolutely and scientifically fallacious.
I am totally in favour of rote calling people in on the basis of severe penalty if they do not turn up. Perhaps the Minister does not have the same contact with the people on the ground that some of us have week in and week out in our constituency clinics, but for a large number of people in my constituency who are getting called in, JobPath was a kind of purgatory a person went through until he or she was allowed on a CE or the Tús scheme. People would suffer it. People who would not need a CV to get a job, because they were likely to get jobs locally, were spending days working with computers when they had no knowledge, no interest and no skills in that direction.
What really scares me is that we know the likelihood is that this motion is going to be passed as put down by Sinn Féin because, I presume, we will get support for it from the Independents 4 Change and People Before Profit. The Minister has obviously just torn it up and said, "Sorry, that is rubbish, I am going ahead with this contract again." That is total and utter disrespect for Dáil Éireann. I hope that when the Minister's amendment is defeated she will have the good grace to say, "The will of Dáil Éireann is that I do not renew the contract."