A FÁS-funded Limerick jobs centre has been ordered to stop promoting careers in the British army, a criminal offence under the Defence Act of 1954.
The act states that anyone attempting “to induce, procure or persuade any person in the state to accept or agree to accept any commission or engagement in any military, naval or air force maintained by the government of any other state” is liable to a large fine and/or six months in prison.
The controversy erupted when jobseekers on the north-side of the city received letters alerting them to positions available in “the Royal Irish Army”.
The jobs are actually in the Royal Irish Regiment, which has suffered casualties in Afghanistan. The regiment is currently recruiting, in contrast to the Irish defence forces, which are subject to the public service recruitment moratorium.
The letters were sent out by the Moyross-based Millennium Jobs Club.
When people registered as unemployed with the jobs club receive such a letter, they are obliged to call in and enquire about the job in question. If they fail to respond to the offer they risk being removed from the register, with potential loss of dole payments.
Local Sinn Féin councillor Maurice Quinlivan said the letter has caused consternation among several Limerick families.
“I have had a number of parents in contact with me concerned that a failure to respond to the letter could affect their children’s benefits and future job applications at the centre.”
A Fás spokesman said although funded by the agency the jobs club “operated at arms-length”.
He added that the agency was promoting jobs abroad.
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