Limerick Gateway workers worse off than unemployed

first_imgWatch the streamed gig for Fergal Nash album launch Facebook Twitter Emma Langford shortlisted for RTE Folk Award and playing a LIVE SHOW!!! this Saturday Advertisement Celebrating a ground breaking year in music from Limerick TAGSCllr Maurice QuinlivanDepartment of Social ProtectionFianna FáilGateway job schemeMusic LimerickSinn FeinWillie O’Dea #SaucySoul: Room 58 – ‘Hate To See You Leave’ WhatsApp Printcenter_img Previous articleLimerick animal rights campaigners to stage protest over circus tigersNext articlePatrick prays new Limerick councillors will deliver their promises Alan Jacques Cllr Maurice QuinlivanAFTER travel expenses and before they even buy their lunches, some of those drafted in to work on the Gateway job scheme in Limerick have less money in their pockets than before they joined the Government’s back-to-work initiative.According to Sinn Fein councillor Maurice Quinlivan, one unemployed man living in Moyross is spending €20.20 for a weekly bus ticket just to get to his Gateway posting. With the Gateway initiative paying the claimant an extra €20 a week on top of his jobseekers allowance, he is now worse off than before he started on the scheme.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up “He will have less money than his welfare payment even before he buys his lunch,” Cllr Quinlivan said.Those on the Live Register for more than a year qualify for the €20 bonus to their jobseekers allowance if they work 19 and a half hours for local authorities.Cllr Quinlivan has described the Government initiative as a “sick joke and an insult to the thousands of people currently unemployed in Limerick”. The City North councillor claims he has been approached by a number of constituents who are disgusted at being drafted on to the Gateway scheme.“It forces unemployed people to carry out work for the local authority with threats of cuts or suspensions of welfare payments, despite the fact that it pays only a fraction of the minimum wage.“The Gateway scheme involves no training or education, with no prospect of long-term employment for those forced to participate,” he claimed.Cllr. Quinlivan also pointed out that people on the scheme were paid an extra €20 which was taxable and a person with three or four children might end up with less money than before getting involved in the scheme.“Our communities need decent jobs with decent wages, not forced labour schemes paying €1 an hour,” he declared.Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson on Social Protection, Limerick TD Willie O’Dea has criticised the Government’s decision to withhold dole payments from people who refuse to take part in its Gateway scheme as “populist rhetoric” that will make little positive difference in tackling joblessness.According to reports, four people have already had their payments stopped because they decided not to participate in the programme.Deputy O’Dea described Gateway as an “exploitative scheme that is clearly a tool to massage the Live Register figures”.The Limerick TD believes the job scheme makes little positive difference in tackling unemployment. He also condemned the scheme for not taking people’s skills or education into account.“Gateway offers little more than the basic Jobseeker’s Allowance payment, and it actually undermines the existing pay and terms and conditions for staff already employed in these sectors. This is another Government job activation programme set up to make the Live Register numbers look better than they really are,” he claimed.According to the Government, Gateway is part of a range of initiatives in the Pathways strategy designed to bridge the gap between unemployment and re-entering the workforce. A budget of €19 million has been set aside for the initiative in 2014.A spokesperson for the Department of Social Protection told the Limerick Post this week that the scheme allows participants to engage in worthwhile work, break the cycle of unemployment and avail of the wider opportunities offered, both professionally and socially, by being in a work environment.“All participants have standardised conditions on the Gateway programme. The rate of pay is the same as that which applies to participants on Community Employment, Tús and the Rural Social schemes. Essentially, this is based on the value of a participant’s prior jobseekers payment plus an additional €20 per week, with a minimum payment of €208 per week.“Participants have the added benefit of working with a reputable employer and have the opportunity to gain additional skills and access further opportunities. Employment schemes make a valuable contribution to improving the employability and work readiness of participants and ultimately, will help many long-term unemployed people to take the first step to re-enter the workforce”, the spokesperson added. Email Linkedin NewsLocal NewsLimerick Gateway workers worse off than unemployedBy Alan Jacques – May 30, 2014 737 #HearThis: New music and video from Limerick rapper Strange Boy RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Decision to enter Phase 4 of reopening Ireland deferred to August 10last_img

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