A recruiter for a large Wexford company told Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe that more and more people are opting to remain on social welfare rather than taking up jobs.
Lynnsie O’Donoghue of Enniscorthy based company Fresh Today said: “I recruit for multiple companies in Enniscorthy and across Wexford and the biggest competition we have in terms of employment is social welfare.
"We’re losing the war with welfare.”
Ms O’Donoghue’s points were echoed by one of the country’s biggest hauliers, Richard Nolan of Nolan Transport, who agreed that it was becoming more and more difficult to recruit staff.
Having raised social welfare by €12 in the budget, Minister Donohoe, who was attending a ‘budget breakdown’ in Wexford said: “I’m worried to hear you say that. The Department of Social Protection should have programmes in place to ensure that those in receipt of social welfare, where appropriate, should be available and willing and ready for work.”
Minister Donohoe’s Fine Gael colleague Paul Kehoe TD agreed that it was becoming a major issue.
"It’s something that’s raised regularly with me in the hospitality sector in particular. There’s a requirement there at the moment that you can’t work more than three days and still receive a social welfare payment.”
Minister Donohoe said he would bring the matter back to his colleagues in the Department of Social Protection and look towards maybe establishing the cut-off point for payments at hours worked, rather than days.