Transport issues ruled out almost half of the jobseekers who applied to pick fruit and vegetables in a recent Government recruitment drive.
The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection confirmed to the Farming Independent that a lack of transport meant only 453 of the more than 850 people who applied have been referred to 34 potential employers.
"Since the campaign started three weeks ago, more than 850 jobseekers expressed an interest in the roles and, while many are enthusiastic about working and willing to take on the challenge of a new career, they experienced a number of barriers," said the Department.
"The main barrier has been the lack of a means of transport to get to work as many of these workplaces are not centrally located, nor easily accessible."
It also said that many candidates were referred to multiple horticulture providers so that over 2,440 referrals were made in total.
The Help2Harvest initiative was launched earlier this month in a bid to find 800 seasonal workers for the horticulture sector. The horticulture growers are responsible for selecting candidates.
According to the Department, contrary to common misconceptions, this work is not unskilled.
"Fruit pickers must work to ensure the produce harvested complies with quality standards for the industry so that the produce is fit for sale and consumption here and abroad."
In April Dublin-based firm Keelings flew in close to 200 Bulgarian fruit pickers, which prompted an angry reaction from some.
The Farming Independent had revealed previously that the sector was looking to fly in around 1,500 workers, and Keelings said attempts to recruit local workers at the time saw the company receive just 27 applications.
It comes as the number of work permits issued to companies for workers from outside the European Economic Area hit 1,772 in April, the highest since online records began.
The most permits issued last month were to Amazon Data Services Ireland with 59, followed by Rosderra Irish Meats and Google.