Hey, Mary, we're not waving but drowning
As small businesses and home- owners struggle to stay afloat, the Tanaiste shows her ignorance and Carol Hunt feels all at sea
Dolores and her husband run a small business. Last year was one of their toughest, and this year looks set to be even worse. She wondered if Queenie, as the Minister for Trade, Enterprise and Employment, had any ideas. She did. Among her list of initiatives to sort out the unemployment problem, Queenie mentioned the Employer Based Redundant Apprentice Scheme.
"My husband's small electrical contracting company took one of these apprentices off the dole last year," Dolores told me later. "He's now in college and will hopefully finish his apprenticeship.
"However, last December it took me three weeks to get an answer from Fas as to whether the incentive was running in 2010. Eventually I was told no, the Employer Based Apprentice Scheme would not run in 2010. So you can imagine my surprise when Mary Coughlan informed the nation that the initiative was still running a full two months after it was stopped