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Tuesday 20 February 2018

Ministers clap themselves on the back for implementing 93 per cent of jobs plan . . . but in the real world, dad (42) who used to pay €1,000 a week in tax is now homeless

Breda Heffernan, Fionnan Sheahan and Allison Bray

UNEMPLOYED electrician Michael Lynott was among a number people on the dole queue yesterday who dismissed the Government's "Action Plan for Jobs" as all talk -- and no action.

At the height of the construction boom, Mr Lynott could hardly keep up with his workload.

But now, at the age of 42, he is living on the dole, unable to find work for two years and unable to see any light at the end of the tunnel.

"I've worked all my life. This is the first time I'm unemployed since I started working at 16. I'm in a rut now," he said.

Despite claims by the Government yesterday that it had implemented nine out of 10 measures in its 'Action Plan for Jobs' , it hasn't helped him find a job -- or put a roof over his head.

Originally from Swords in north Dublin, Mr Lynott now lives in a hostel in the city centre as he was unable to keep his apartment after he was turned down for rent allowance.

"I used to be paying up to €1,000 a week in tax . . . now I can't even get rent allowance," he said. "The Government aren't doing anything. It's all talk," he said.

Like thousands of his former colleagues who have left Ireland in search of work abroad, he also considered emigration, but that would mean leaving behind his 14-year-old daughter.

He did a FAS course on installing solar panels and hoped this would be an "extra thing on the CV". But it hasn't led to work.

He admitted that being long-term unemployed was taking its toll on him as he struggles to stay positive about the future.

"I really can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. I've always been positive about it but it's got to me at this stage, it's getting really depressing."

Almost 20 years Michael's junior, construction worker Karl Redmond (23), from Blackrock, south Dublin, is also languishing on the dole queue.

He has been in and out of work over the last few years, doing stints in construction, in factories and, for a while, as a postman.

Emigrating

"I've been thinking about emigrating. I have four cousins in Australia and Canada. It's just trying to get the money together to go. I'm sick of this country," he said while queuing at the social welfare office on Kings Inn Street yesterday.

He was equally scathing of the Government's record on job creation. "They say they're going to do something, but you never see it materialising. It's terrible."

But Jobs Minister Richard Bruton insisted yesterday that the Action Plan for Jobs would create employment, albeit not overnight. "When we as a Government launched the Action Plan for Jobs earlier this year, we stated very clearly that there was no 'big bang' solution to the jobs crisis, and that what was needed was determined, step-by-step implementation of our plan to rebuild the economy and create jobs," he said after announcing that 72 out of 77 job-creation measures that were scheduled to be delivered in the second quarter of this year had been implemented.

"We are making solid progress and have already put in a number of measures which will make a practical difference in making it easier for businesses to grow and create jobs," he said.

Flanked by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore at the offices of Arran Healthcare in Dublin's Liberties area yesterday, Mr Bruton said that 93pc of the points in the "Action Plan for Jobs" were implemented in the last three months.

They include:

• Passing the Credit Guarantee Bill as part of the measures necessary to deliver the €450m credit guarantee scheme.

• Passing the Microenterprise Loan Fund Bill as part of measures to deliver the €90m microenterprise loan fund.

• Two visa programmes are now operational for entrepreneurs from outside the EU -- the Immigrant Investor Programme and Start-Up Entrepreneur Programme.

Irish Independent

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