11 Aug 2022

Employment services must be protected from privatisation – Kilkenny's Kathleen Funchion TD

Kilkenny Kilkenny Kilkenny

Carlow/Kilkenny Fine Gael TD Kathleen Funchion

Sinn Féin TD for Carlow Kilkenny Kathleen Funchion has called for TDs to support the party’s motion to protect community employment services from privatisation.

The motion will be debated in the Dáil today, Tuesday, and would protect the not-for-profit and community-based ethos of employment services.

Deputy Funchion said: “Sinn Féin’s motion is taking a stand for communities and sending the message loud and clear that our communities are not for sale. We must protect community employment services from privatisation. Sinn Féin are bringing forward this motion to stand up for communities and protect these vital services from being hollowed out by this government.

“Here in Carlow and Kilkenny we know the importance of the work that community employment services do.

“Time and time again, the Minister for Social Protection has been warned about her poorly-thought out plans to change Local Employment Services (LES) and Job Clubs through a ruthless shift to focusing on profit over people. This is unacceptable and must not happen. People in Carlow and Kilkenny who use these services deserve better.

“The Government’s model is not the person-centred approach that was successfully fostered by the LES and Job Clubs, and will only result in a process of commercialisation which leaves those who need these services behind.

“Sinn Féin have long campaigned against privatisation of job activation services, like the disastrous JobPath scheme, which has cost close to €300m since 2015. Putting profit margins above the needs of ordinary people helps no-one. This short-sighted approach only risks pushing people into unsuitable, short-term positions just to tick a box. It also risks pricing out LES and Job Clubs which have a strong community approach and walk-in options which meet communities' needs.

“This must stop. Sinn Féin’s motion would compel the government to protect not-for-profit services and suspend all plans to tender out employment services. It would also establish a stakeholder forum between the Minister and Job Clubs and Local Employment Services, to bring forward solutions to allow current services to be maintained.

“I am calling on all TDs to back Sinn Féin’s motion and send the clear message that our communities are not for sale. Stand up for communities and support the Sinn Féin motion to protect employment services from privatisation.”

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