Privatisation of Local Employment Services “must be resisted” 

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Sinn Fein TD Maurice Quinlivan. Pic. Emma Jervis/ Press 22
Sinn Fein TD Maurice Quinlivan. Pic. Emma Jervis/ Press 22

LIMERICK City Sinn Féin TD, Maurice Quinlivan, speaking in the Dáil this week on a motion in support of Local Employment Services, has called for the privatisation of employment services to be halted.

Addressing his fellow TDs in the Dáil chamber, Deputy Quinlivan stated: “I represent a constituency that has the highest number of unemployment blackspots in the state – eight out of the 10 unemployment blackspots are in Limerick City.

“As chairperson of the Joint Committee for Enterprise, trade and Employment, I commissioned a Report recently on Unemployment Blackspots in the state and it is very stark reading.

“In Limerick many people rely on the Local Employment Services as they look to return to the labour market. The Local Employment Services (LES) are crucial to those who are furthest from the labour market. Aside from providing the necessary skills that people need, they offer hope.”

The Sinn Féin motion followed the Department of Social Protection’s decision to tender out the services currently provided by Job Clubs and Local Employment Services.

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Addressing the Minister for Social Protection, Deputy Quinlivan continued: “You have demonstrated your intention to privatise employment services and undermine the not-for-profit ethos of the existing services. This government is putting profit margins before the wellbeing of those who have been marginalised. The approach the Minister is taking is wrong. People will be put into short term positions so that a metric can be achieved. This is not in the best interest of the individual. This approach leaves service users behind.”

The Sinn Féin motion called for the protection of the not-for-profit community-based ethos of employment services and for the suspension of all plans to tender out employment services.

Concluding his remarks, the Sinn Féin Deputy urged all parties to support the motion adding: “Over six years €275 million was spent, and only 7 per cent of those on the scheme found employment for at least one year. Could you imagine what effect €275 million would have had if the LES had a fraction of this?

“The Oireachtas Committee on Social Protection reports recommends the continuation of Local Employment Services and Job Clubs in their current form. It is a bad idea for the now and it will have negative ramifications for the future.  I urge members of all parties to support this motion and stop the privatisation of these crucial services.”