Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs Dara Calleary has described comments by the Finance Minister that some people are “allergic to work” as extremely insulting and offensive to those who are genuinely trying to get back into the workforce.
Deputy Calleary commented, “Michael Noonan’s comments were not only arrogant and rude, they were ironic. The fact of the matter is this Government has done little to improve working conditions for low and middle earning workers. Ministers have concentrated their efforts on attracting foreign direct investment while refusing to adopt measures to help small and medium businesses and indigenous industries.
“SMEs are the backbone of our economy, and have the potential to create thousands of local jobs. However the current focus on large multinationals has seen job announcements confined to the greater Dublin area and commuter counties. Few jobs are coming on stream in smaller towns outside of the commuter counties. These are the very people who are languishing on the Live Register because the employment opportunities are simply not there. These people are not “allergic to work”, they have been left behind by the Government’s failure to implement balanced regional development.
“People who are genuinely trying to get back into the workplace will feel stigmatised by these dreadful comments. Instead of hitting out at unemployed people, Minister Noonan should be working together with Jobs Minister Richard Bruton to broaden the Government’s horizons beyond the high skilled market and open up other job opportunities.
“There were 349,500 people on the Live Register in April – is Minister Noonan really trying to suggest that these people don’t want to work? This figure masks the number of people who are working but who have no real security. There are thousands of workers on zero hours contracts and who are barely making a living but who choose to work despite the fact that they would be better off in the social welfare system. If the Government put any effort into trying to protect workers and improve their conditions it would make it easier for people to return to the workplace”.