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Government unemployment scheme is 'Pathways to Poverty' says opposition

Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil have both criticised the government’s plan to tackle unemployment.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Social Protection Minister Joan Burton at the launch of Pathways to Work yesterday
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Social Protection Minister Joan Burton at the launch of Pathways to Work yesterday
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

OPPOSITION PARTIES HAVE criticised the government’s plan to get unemployed people back to work as “inadequate” and “no better than waffle”.

Social Protection Minister Joan Burton yesterday unveiled the government’s ‘Pathways to Work’ scheme which aims to get 75,000 people who are considered long-term unemployed back into work as well as reduce the time spent on the Live Register.

Those on social welfare will have to engage with the process of seeking employment or undergoing training or will face losing their benefits, the government has said.

But Sinn Féin said that the plan would be more appropriately titled ‘Pathways to Poverty’.

“Just like the Budget the emphasis of today’s announcement is on punishing the unemployed,” claimed the party’s social protection spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh.

“This document offers them very little hope and instead threatens to cut their meagre incomes.  Much of today’s announcement is a rehash of provisions put in place by the previous government and objected to at the time by the Labour Party,” he claimed yesterday.

Ó Snodaigh said that the “the plan is no better than waffle” and criticised the fact that the Minister is cutting the budget for social protection and that no new resources were being allocated for the measures announced.

Fianna Fáil’s social protection spokesperson Barry Cowen said that the response to the country’s high unemployment was “incoherent” and said that the scheme was a “repackaging” of a range of existing measures already in place.

“This document raises more questions than it answers. It is jam packed with fluff and no real policy detail. There is no detail on how the department will ensure that work placements are effective for the job-seekers involved,” he said.

Read: Government unveils scheme to get unemployed back to work

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Hugh O'Connell

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