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Doherty says FÁS offer of job in Malta is 'actively encouraging emigration'

The Sinn Féin TD called the offer of the €250 per week job “outrageous”.

Image: Malta signpost along a rural road via Shutterstock

SINN FÉIN DEPUTY Pearse Doherty has said he finds it “outrageous” that a consituent of his was offered a job by FÁS that paid €250 per week – in Malta.

Doherty read out the letter from the Department of Social Protection last night during Private Members’ Business. The offer of work was made to a 60-year-old unemployed man who had previously driven for a living.

The letter said that the job, with Arriva Malta Ltd, required “left hand side driving” and would pay €250 per week.

Explaining the low wage, the letter said:

While Maltese salary rates are lower than those in Ireland, Maltese workers pay among the lowest taxes in the EU and annual living costs are substantially lower.

The letter also made reference to the climate in the foreign country, describing it as “typically Mediterranean”.

“If the man were to get the job he would have obvious extra costs such as rent and travel while trying to pay his mortgage at home,” Doherty said. “Is the government now actively encouraging emigration?”

Commenting last night after reading the letter aloud, Doherty said that the job offer showed “where this country is at at this point in time.”

“It is laughable in a way, but it is very very sad,” he said.

Doherty has said that he believed there to be 200 positions available at the company. “How many more unemployed people have been encouraged to apply for these low paid jobs?,” he said in a statement.

European Employment Service initiative

When contacted by the TheJournal.ie about the job offer, a spokesperson from the Department of Social Protection said that the offer was made as a result of the European Employment Service (EURES) initiative “that has been in existence for a long number of years”.

“The service is extremely popular with jobseekers throughout Europe,” they said.

The spokesperson said that the department could not say how many people on the live register had “actually take up employment” using the initiative.

Any such employment opportunities which the Department of Social Protection brings to the attention of jobseekers are completely voluntary and people who do not avail of them will not lose their social welfare entitlements here.

Read: €669 million saved through social welfare control measures in 2012 >

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Paul Hyland

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