Long-term unemployed in Cavan/Monaghan will not appreciate FF/SF opposition to job creation measures – O’Reilly

Fine Gael Cavan/Monaghan TD, Joe O’Reilly, has strongly criticised the Private Members’ Bill taken this week by Sinn Fein and supported by Fianna Fáil opposing the Government’s Gateway scheme to tackle long term unemployment.

Gateway is a local authority work placement scheme designed to provide work opportunities for people who are long-term unemployed by bridging the gap between unemployment and re-entering the workforce. People in receipt of jobseeker’s payment for more than two years are selected at random to participate by the Department of Social Protection.

“If you are one of the 250,000 people who lost their jobs under Fianna Fáil, you would have every right to be furious to hear the Party opposing initiatives to help you get back to work. Sinn Fein’s default standpoint is to oppose everything and make undeliverable promises so it is no surprise to see them engage in campaigns such as this. It is particularly galling to see the two parties coalesce for purely political gain to try to undermine a scheme which will help long term unemployed people get back to work.

“Gateway is modelled on successful Government job creation schemes such as Tús. With over 61,000 jobs having been created (net) in the last 12 months under this Government, it seems the Opposition is getting desperate in its attempts to deflect from the good job this Government is doing in getting people back to work.

“Research has shown that spells of long-term unemployment on a CV can make it much harder to get back to work. Gateway will improve the employability of people who are long-term unemployed by giving them experience and a chance to prove themselves in a job. Participants can expect to be provided with good-quality working opportunities that harness their skills and bring them back into active work. They will work on important local initiatives including village enhancement schemes, landscaping, improving libraries and acting as tourism Ambassadors.

”Participants will work for an average of 19 ½ hours a week and the placement will last for 22 months. All participants will receive a minimum of €208 per week. So if, for example, the person’s Jobseeker’s Allowance is less than €188 per week, they will receive a minimum payment of €208 per week. If their Jobseeker’s Allowance payment exceeds €188 per week, they will receive that payment plus an additional €20 per week.

“Instead of harping from the sidelines while this Government helps to create 1,200 real jobs a week, Fianna Fáil should provide the responsible Opposition it promised us by engaging in a pro-active manner with the issue of helping long term unemployed people get back to work.”

ENDS

Senator Joe O'Reilly representing Cavan & Monaghan 2010. | An ExSite website