Sunday 4 December 2016

Ending unemployment should not mean punishing those who are out of work

Tom Boland and Ray Griffin

Published 31/12/2015 | 02:30

Sanctioning of jobseekers (Total number of sanctions imposed since 2012)
Sanctioning of jobseekers (Total number of sanctions imposed since 2012)

Fine Gael and Labour are going into the forthcoming General Election with the promise of ending unemployment. For a country bruised by the scourge of unemployment, haunted by recession after despairing recession, this is electoral gold dust.

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That is because most people think 'ending unemployment' simply means creating job opportunities - Enda's 'best little country to do business in' line. However, for the Government parties 'ending unemployment' also means intensifying the 'radical welfare reform' that has been under way since 2012's Pathways to Work policy, largely copied from the UK.

Until then, Ireland had stubbornly refused to adopt labour activation policies, though since the early 1990s the OECD has chided our various governments' 'generous', 'lax' or 'passive' policies.

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