Work or lose dole -- O Cuiv
Community scheme to pay 5,000 €208 a week
THOUSANDS of people face having their dole payments cut off if they do not agree to take part in a new €30m community work scheme.
There will be 5,000 places available for those who have been out of work for more than a year -- and the rates of pay will be at least €20 per week higher than social welfare.
But Social Protection Minister Eamon O Cuiv warned that the scheme would identify those who were not genuinely interested in work or who were working in the black economy.
"They will have their payments cut if they are available for work and their payments will be suspended until they do interact. I think that is a reasonable way of approaching things," he said.
Those who take part in the Tus community work scheme will be employed for 19-and-a half hours per week in tasks such as sports coaching, social care of the elderly, fixing community facilities and repairing equipment for use in developing countries.
The rate of pay for the jobs will be €208 per week -- which is €20 higher than the jobseeker's allowance payment -- and significantly higher than the payments given to unemployed people under 25. They will be allowed to give up their year-long placements if they find work in the meantime.
Mr O Cuiv said it was his belief that most people who were unemployed would welcome the chance to take part in the scheme.
"There's more people looking than there are places. There's no fear of getting it, there's fear of not getting it," he said.
Mr O Cuiv also said the jobs given to people would match the skills they had and would lead to "meaningful opportunities" for them.
"There's no point creating jobs for the sake of jobs. Giving 300 people shovels or equipment to cut hedges is very simplistic and wrong," he said.
The jobs will be created by the 52 Local Development Companies based around the country, and will be available in both rural and urban areas.
The Government is also planning to give 5,000 unemployed people work placements in the private sector and another 5,000 unemployed people work placements in the public sector.