Fianna Fáil TD Jackie Cahill says serious questions have arisen with the Jobpath scheme and is calling on the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection to wind down the activation scheme.

Deputy Cahill explained, “The current one-size-fits-all model is simply not working.  The fact that private companies are running the scheme on behalf of the State is in itself a problem – it creates a conflict between the company providing the service, which wants to make a profit, and the needs of the people the programme is supposed to work for.

“I don’t believe the scheme is fair – particularly as it imposes penalties such as reduced social welfare payments if a person fails to co-operate with activation measures.  This has led to countless people being forced into jobs that are unsuitable and inappropriate, under the threat of sanction.  In the vast majority of cases, they are also very low paid places.

“Other job activation schemes are suffering as a result of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection’s policy of referring people to JobPath over all other community-based schemes.  Fianna Fáil has always supported and encouraged community employment schemes. We recognise the significant benefit of such schemes not only to the individual but to the community as a whole.

“As a Party we have raised concerns that Jobpath not only undermined these schemes but has also privatised what was traditionally a public service.  Last year Fianna Fáil secured a change to the Jopbpath scheme whereby an individual could engage in a CE or Tús scheme whilst on Jobpath.

“We will continue to voice our concerns with this activation scheme.  It is imperative that employment support schemes must be holistic in their approach and must be centred on the individual.  This scheme fails to meet that criteria and should be wound down”, concluded Deputy Cahill.