Ministers in the Dock

News this week that two senior Ministers in the Coalition Government effectively ignored pleas for help from a Thurles based company wishing to provide ninety new jobs between now and Christmas, is disturbing to say the least.

News this week that two senior Ministers in the Coalition Government effectively ignored pleas for help from a Thurles based company wishing to provide ninety new jobs between now and Christmas, is disturbing to say the least.

Ministers Richard Bruton and Joan Burton had been approached by the company, pleading with them for assistance in the recruitment process. But their appeals have fallen on deaf ears, with Minister Bruton claiming to be too busy, and Minister Burton referring them to the Department of Social Welfare – the department she heads up.

At a time when half a million of our people are unemployed, the dole queues getting longer, and the future so uncertain for everyone, that two Ministers should walk away and not render assistance to potential employers, is nothing short of a disgrace. Minister Bruton was contacted direct the day after Talk Talk had announced it’s closure in Waterford – here was his chance to get ninety of those people back to work immediately. He didn’t take it, because he was too busy. Too busy doing what one wonders? Presumably, if some multi-national announced that it would be establishing ninety jobs in Ireland in some location, Minister Bruton would have been available for the soundbite and photo opportunity. So why not make it your business when a local company tries to get things moving? Doesn’t make sense Minister – shame on you.

Of course, the story we carried on the front page of this weeks issue, also highlights the major difficulty we have in this country with our Social Welfare system. It is a major indictement of the system that people are chosing to stay on the live register and live off the State, rather than taking up employment. When the number of benefits and allowances are factored into many of the payments being made week in, week out, it is simply not worth their while working. Neither is there a willingness, on the part of many, to take up employment in the hope of moving up the ladder and improving ones position down the line.

That only 25% of those called for interview, actually bothered to turn up, is shocking. Minister Burton’s response ? -report the other 75% to social welfare. It’s hardly the responsibility of any company, to do the work of the departmental inspectors. Surely, Minister Burton, you, as head of the department can do something about it. Saying that you cannot, is a cop out.

The Coalition’s agenda has been all about job creation and getting people back to work – two of it’s senior members of Cabinet have washed their hands of ninety jobs. Surely, this is not acceptable? Surely, An Taoiseach should be banging on their doors demanding answers? How many more companies are caught in similar circumstances? How many more jobs are being ignored by our leaders?

If Ireland is to get back on it’s feet, the Government must do what it pledged in it’s election manifesto – chase down each and every job to give those out of work a chance of returning to contribute to Society. Unemployment has devastated communities -many of them in Tipperary – and it is simply not on that Ministers are ignoring opportunities to reverse some of the loss.

It is sad that a good news story such as the creation of ninety jobs , comes with a negative caveat. Fair play to the entrepreneurs for creating the jobs and highlighting the problems. Shame on our Ministers for their laissez faire attitude.