Job plan ‘won’t exploit the vulnerable’

The head of the Government’s strategy to find jobs for people with disabilities has insisted the Coalition plan will create real jobs and not lead to a return to vulnerable people being “taken advantage of” by unscrupulous employers.

Fergus Finlay, Barnardo’s chief executive and the head of the plan’s implementation group, underlined the intention of the decade-long initiative, which has been broadly welcomed. However, there was criticism from some disability groups of the fact the Government is only publishing it now, as they say it shows the issue has not been prioritised.

Under plans announced by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tánaiste Joan Burton, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, and Equality Minister Aodhán Ó Riordáin, the Government aims to increase the number of people with disabilities in employment by 15% by 2024.

The 77-page report — delayed for a number of years — does not include extra funding but is focused on improving education, training, and job-seeking prospects for people who may otherwise be unable to access the workplace.

After the report’s launch, Mr Finlay said the initiative will create “real jobs” for people with disabilities and will not see them suffer “exploitation” and have their “potential ignored”.


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