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‘Pitiful’ O Cuiv wants to use unemployed people as cheap labour

TO say Social Protection Minister Eamon O Cuiv’s’ performance on RTÉ’s Prime Time (September 7) was pitiful would be excessive praise.

He is proof that ministers do not need any acumen for their portfolios. On Prime Time he hid his intention to recruit the unemployed as cheap labour behind a whinge about welfare fraud. He did nothing to clarify that highly qualified people would be placed in schemes reflecting their skills – not of course that good skills should be cheaply bought. A qualified teacher, for example, should never have to work involuntarily in a cafe. Not even a young school-leaver should have to sweep streets when a prisoner should be doing it. In short, no unemployed person should be sweeping streets just to make their inept Government look proactive.

O Cuiv’s declaration that non-availability for welfare interviews would suggest fraud is utterly stupid. Attendance at a few interviews a year would not deter the real, and few, fraudsters from breaking the law.

What O Cuiv envisages for earnest welfare claimants is a future filled with fear, debt, instability and mental stress. The life they worked for will slip further away with every passing hour. For God’s sake, when did community employment schemes ever lead to any worthwhile jobs? People who are perhaps more skilled than those with jobs will become an underclass providing cheap/free childcare for those who will always have work. O Cuiv’s lack of vision resonates an Orwellian nightmare in which this skilled underclass will clean streets – something highly-paid council workers should be doing. There may even be gulags and food kitchens in which demoralised slaves may only get one crust a day in return for building miles of road going nowhere.

If highly qualified unemployed people are facing the prospect of humiliation in return for a pittance, there should be a class action against the state and its universities. When are people going to stop being bled to death for what they did not do? When will we have politicians who are not brainless and don’t destroy people’s lives?

Dr Florence Craven

Maynooth

Co Kildare


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