Friday 19 January 2018

Getting back to work

ANY job is better than no job at all, and the Government's plan to pay 10,000 unemployed people €210 for 19.5 hours' work per week is therefore welcome. But the welcome can only be a guarded one.

In the first place, the figure is only a drop in the ocean of joblessness. Even if -- as the Department of Social Protection hopes -- 40,000 people could ultimately participate, they would account for less than 10pc of the current live register figures.

Secondly, one has to question the nature of the proposed jobs. It is envisaged that the participants would help out in after-school and childcare services, sports clubs, services for older people and environmental projects. All of these are commendable, but how do they square with one of Minister Eamon O Cuiv's objectives -- upskilling?

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