Kenny outlines plan to get 75,000 back to work by 2015
Taoiseach says depending on social welfare is not a route out of poverty
A queue for unemployment benefit outside Bishop Street Social Welfare Office in Dublin. Pathways to Work, published in February 2012, promised a multi-pronged approach to the unemployment crisis. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has warned that nothing is free in Ireland and pledged to stamp out what he claimed was unemployment DNA running through some households.
As he outlined the Government’s 50-point plan to move 75,000 long-term unemployed people back to work by 2015, he said that depending on social welfare is no route out of poverty.
“We can’t have a situation where there is a perception, an understanding or an acceptance that everything is for nothing in this world,” Mr Kenny said.
“Everybody is expected to make some contribution some way or other.”
Separately from the Pathways to Work scheme, the Taoiseach said that the Action for Jobs plan had failed to reach its latest targets.
Mr Kenny, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton will publish the plan’s second progress report for 2013 tomorrow, outlining its results for the second quarter.
“The Action Plan for Jobs, overseen by the Minister for Jobs and my own department — a number have not been implemented because of presidency pressures,” Mr Kenny said.
Meanwhile, Mr Gilmore said he wanted to see full employment by 2020. He said he recognised that was an ambitious target but the Government must reach far to achieve big.
Mr Kenny suggested the long-term unemployed should “get off the couch” and get back to work. But he insisted he was referring to those who are genuinely frustrated and want to find a job.
“There’s a great frustration and that leads to cynicism and being locked into a rut, and I don’t want to see people in that situation,” Mr Kenny said.
He said the targets set in Pathways to Work will be achieved with greater engagement from jobseekers and co-ordination from the 43 one-stop shops for employment that will be rolled out.
“We want to engage with people who want to work, who are willing to work, who don’t want to sit on the couch,” he added. Pathways to Work 2013 is designed to deliver more places on employment and training schemes, a set of more attractive recruitment incentives for employers and more interplay between welfare payments, tax and in-work payments to reduce so-called welfare traps.