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I WATCHED with total disbelief as the Minister for Social Protection Eamon O Cuiv responded to questioning on RTE’s Primetime (September 7) about compulsory work schemes for people who are unemployed.
He seems to think 455,000 of us are willingly queuing up weekly and monthly in ever longer lines because we only want to benefit from work in the black economy. While there will always be some element of such illegality in any economy, surely the minister cannot believe that more than 10% of the entire population are operating in this way?
In case he hasn’t noticed, the construction industry, to name but one sector, has all but collapsed and many others are in serious trouble. Our banks have no money. Our graduates have no opportunities and even professional people are losing their jobs in increasing numbers. What hope for early school-leavers and those who do not wish to pursue third-level education? I was infuriated by O Cuiv’s fudged responses to ordinary questions put to him on the programme – just as I am almost every time I hear any of his ministerial colleagues now. I’m sure I’m not alone. What chance a thoughtful, forward-thinking, ambitious plan from the Government (or the opposition) to attempt to get citizens of this nation out of the gutter?
I won’t be holding my breath.
Jason Shannon BSc
(Unemployed for more than two years)
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