Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection and Social Equality, Willie O’Dea TD, says reports the Taoiseach is taking a direct role in pushing through reforms in the Department of Social Welfare prove the overhaul that Minister Joan Burton promised has failed.
Deputy O’Dea commented: “Reports today suggesting the Taoiseach is going to take a hands-on approach to push through reforms is a clear signal the fundamental changes Minister Burton promised in her Department have not materialised in any way.
“The Minister promised to turn around her Department to help people re-train and get back to work. News that the Taoiseach will now take over the handling of this proves Minister Burton’s inability to effectively tackle the unemployment crisis we have in this country.
“The Pathways to Work scheme which was launched amid much fanfare has failed abysmally in reaching any of the targets that were set out. In fact the scheme is basically only operating on a pilot basis in a few areas with no tangible results.
“For the Pathways to Work scheme to stand any chance of succeeding, physical offices need to be reconfigured so interviews and assessments can take place. Without a physical hub where the scheme can be anchored, it will continue to be just another Government plan that is full of spin with no substance.
“Let’s hope that with the Taoiseach finally taking notice that Minister Burton’s labour market activation measures have failed, some real and effective changes can take place to help those who are unemployed find ways to get back to work.”