Monday 18 December 2017

Burton 'flying policy kites' and not helping jobless – FF

Joan Burton, T.D., Minster for Social Protection
Joan Burton, T.D., Minster for Social Protection

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

SOCIAL Protection Minister Joan Burton has been criticised for 'flying kites" on policy to secure the job of Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore instead of concentrating on getting people back to work.

It came after the Irish Independent revealed that the troika and the Cabinet are deeply concerned about her missing targets on getting long-term employed off the live register and rolling out new integrated social welfare offices.

Fianna Fail social protection spokesman Willie O'Dea said progress so far on getting people back to work had been an absolute disaster.

"We have a minister who is out every Sunday, depending on what topic she wants to raise, in one newspaper after another, flying kites, one moth-eaten kite after another, all concentrating apparently on the job she wants to get rather than the job she is supposed to be doing," he said.

Ms Burton has recently suggested that the €8.65 minimum wage needs to be increased to help low-income families earn a living wage.


Although she has often been identified as the most likely challenger to Mr Gilmore, she has repeatedly said she has full confidence in his leadership.

Mr O'Dea suggested that Ms Burton should get additional staff moved from other departments to her department to help the 400,000 people unemployed.

Ms Burton's department said it had completed 158,000 initial one-to-one guidance interviews with jobseekers already, with about half of these being people who had signed on for the first time. It has a target of carrying out 185,000 one-to-one interviews this year.

"The department is aware of staffing issues and these are being addressed through redeployment.

"Other options such as contracting are also being explored," it added in a statement.

The troika and the Government are both concerned that if action is not taken quickly to help people who are out of work, they will be trapped on the dole queues for years and may never work again.

Irish Independent

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