Department urges jobless driver to apply for Malta post

An unemployed 60-year-old man has been encouraged by the Department of Social Protection to apply for a job driving buses in Malta.

The €250-a-week post was notified in a letter to the man, who Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty said is a constituent who has previously worked as a bus driver.

The Donegal South West TD asked if the Government was now actively encouraging emigration after being contacted by the jobseeker.

The job notice was sent from the Department of Social Protection’s employment services office in Limerick earlier this month and outlined the bus drivers’ positions available at Arriva Malta Ltd, which operates the island country’s public bus services.

“I find it outrageous that a government department would ask a 60-year-old man with a mortgage to apply for a job in Malta that pays lower than the minimum wage here,” said Mr Doherty.

“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.”

According to the letter, the vacancy has been notified to the department and may have been of interest to the recipient.

It describes the duties as driving on routes around Malta, and even suggests there may be some consolation for the island’s salary rates being lower than here.

“Maltese workers pay among the lowest taxes in EU and annual living costs are substantially lower. The climate is typically Mediterranean,” it said.

Last night Mr Doherty tweeted an image of another letter which, he said, told a young Donegal teacher to apply for work in Spain.

Mr Doherty called on Social Protection Minister Joan Burton to clarify if it is her policy’s department to seek low-paid jobs abroad for unemployed Irish people.

He said he understands there are 200 jobs available at the company in Malta and asked how many more unemployed people have been encouraged to apply.

The department said the European-wide initiative, EURES, had been in existence since 1993 to help jobseekers take up employment in other EU countries.

“Through EURES, public employment services share their employment vacancies and services with each other,” it said. “The service is extremely popular with jobseekers throughout Europe.

“Under the initiative, the department informs jobseekers in Ireland of such job opportunities in the wider European labour market which may be of interest to them.

“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,” it said.


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