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Taoiseach warns of risk of 'welfare dependency' despite falling unemployment

An Taoiseach made the comments as Live Register declined for the 22nd consecutive month.

Enda Kenny arriving at at Government Buildings this morning.
Enda Kenny arriving at at Government Buildings this morning.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY says the Government are working to ‘break the cycle’ of unemployment that has left some people ‘facing a future of welfare dependency’.

Kenny made the comments as the Government provided and update to its Pathways to Work programme which shows that 27,000 have taken part in the JobBridge programme.

The Department of Social Protection say that over 60 per cent of thosee who took part in the scheme secured employment as a result.

The release of the update comes as the unemployment rate fell to 11.7 per cent this month, the 22nd consecutive month it fell, but Kenny says that there are still people stuck on social welfare:

We set a target of supporting 75,000 long-term unemployed people to move into employment by the end of 2015. By the end of February of this year, 45,000 of this group were known to have entered employment. While these trends are welcome, there are still far too many people unemployed who also risk facing a future of welfare dependency. We are redoubling our efforts to break that cycle.

In addition, today’s update says that places available on the TÚS, Community Employment, JobBridge and Gateway programmes is now over 43,000.

The Pathways to Work programme was introduced in 2012 with the aim of proving opportunities to people on the Live Register.

Speaking at the launch of the report today, Kenny says that the department is to hire more people on a temporary basis to provide a more direct service for jobseekers:

The Department of Social Protection will roll out its JobsPath plan to contract additional case workers to provide more long term unemployed with a personalised service. These case workers will be incentivised to place as many jobseekers into new jobs as possible.

The Government claim that 50 different ‘actions’ under the Pathways to Work programme were targeted to be completed last year, 44 of which have been completed.

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Other stats contained in the update include that 44 new Intreo offices have been established.

Intreo was set up from the recruitment arm of the rebranded Fás an the Government say that 12,000 people have been referred to training programmes from the office.

Read: Gerry Adams says Gateway and JobBridge massaging dole numbers >

Read: Employment growth in Ireland outpaces the eurozone says EU stats office >

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Rónán Duffy

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