Only a few suffer with 'work allergies'
One of the oldest chestnuts in politics is the lazy welfare recipient who just won't work. The archetype plays well because there have indeed always been some people who don't want to work, but the number is far smaller than politicians like to believe.
We know this because unemployment fell to little more than 4pc during the boom. That tiny percentage put paid to the lie - often expressed by ministers from all parties during the recession of the 1980s and 1990s - that large numbers of people just didn't want to work.
The timing of Michael Noonan's remarks is interesting. Unemployment is falling but it has stayed stubbornly at 10pc for the past three months. It is tempting to wonder whether the outburst betrays frustration at the Government's failure to push the rate into single digits before the two referendums and the Kilkenny Carlow by-election.