Amen to that. Anyone care to defend this system? I seem to recall that as recently as five years ago the unemployed only had to sign on once a month with their weekly payment going straight into their bank account.
It’s a bureaucratic response to fraud. A lot of men on the dole are angry and dis-engaged, being in the queue forces people to acknowledge their situation and and meet people often in the same situation as them. There is no point hiding at home, putting on a suit every morning and driving off the a job that does not exist just to keep up appearances for the neighbours, which is what quite a few men do each day. (not unique to Ireland btw, I’ve seen it in Germany also). Lastly the dole queue is there to remind people who have a job that that could be them, keep the head down and plough on.
Second problem with that article is that it looks to the government for solutions rather than the community that’s affected. Not once is encouraging entrepreneurship mentioned, not once is the lack of capital mentioned. If people want to get out of this situation then creating new wealth is the only way to do it, not the economics of robbing Peter to pay Paul.
I can confirm the ease with which you could access your dole back in the good times. In 2004 I was heading off world traveling but I had a couple of months without work before my departure, I signed once a month and was paid weekly into my bank account. The last time I was signing I gave them a date after which I would no longer be available for work as I was traveling, the lady said she’d put me down for two weeks holiday dole but the thing is I got nearly a month of payments into my account while traveling. I knew from previous experience in the civil service that if I complained about this waste they could try to dock me in the future for fraud.
I do agree with weekly signing and I think it should have been in place in the good times too, it was just too easy to coast along. I had my funds for traveling already in place and I actually saved additional money during the two months on the dole. It really was generous. If I do end up back in Ireland on the dole I’d rather move to where ever the jobs are or take part in an enterprise scheme but not the jobs bridge programme. I’ve done time on self certifying community FAS schemes in the 90s and they really were just deadends, in some cases just plain fraud.
Signing on weekly is a response to the “dole tourism” that came to light with the ash cloud is it not? When air travel from Poland was impossible for a while, the numbers signing on took a bit of a drop, so they moved from monthly to weekly signing to combat this.
There is a big problem with the Shame attached to unemployment. It’s very hard to get a job for some people in some places. Standing in a dole queue is a bit demoralising and dehumanising. Doing ‘workfare’ could also be degrading if it was went about the wrong way, but I think there has to be a solution in that direction - doing community work, helping the elderly with home repairs, market gardening on common ground - there’s lots of things that people could do with a bit of organisation and encouragement, things that would benefit themselves and the people around them.
As it stands the black market is actually helping elderly with home repairs and gardening but it would make far more sense as an enterprise scheme rather than community employment. In community employment schemes job creation is not the main objective and in such instances as handy man work they can actually destroy potential new enterprise. I’ve been around FAS CE schemes in the 90s enough to know that they mostly promote structural unemployment and dependency on the welfare culture. Even as unemployment was dropping there was resistance from scheme participants to full time employment as their scheme entitlements still put them ahead financially as part timers.
Two things here:
There is some principle of equality - if you’re signing on in Skibb you should have to fulfill the same requirements as someone signing on in Dublin.
If there really are no jobs to be had, the people signing on cannot be genuine job seekers or they’d have migrated.
This suggests there’s some other category of people who would work if a job was available for them in the area where they want to live, but who aren’t prepared to change location in the search for work.
There is nothing worse than the dole queue in my opinion. I spent a couple of months in it a few years back and I will never forget it. The looks on peoples faces and their demeanor said it all, from the older man in a worn suit with the stubble who stared into the distance to the younger men who tried to make a joke of it as they bumped into their friends. Brutalising and useless.
It takes most of a day to sign on now so people can’t even spend all of their time looking for jobs, that are few and far between.
These people paid taxes for this service and are now being made to feel like second class citizens when they are at their lowest ebb and need the help. As for the arguement that people on the dole are lazy or don’t want jobs, that is pure BS. Unemployment in the boom was around 4%, give or take half a percent. There was a lot of fluidity in the jobs market at the time and some of this 4% would be people who would, quite naturally, have been trading up in jobs or otherwise changing job and needed a short-term income. The VAST majority want jobs.
That’s not quite correct as structural unemployment can mean other things too (e.g. people with skills that don’t match the current jobs available). The question is should “job seekers” benefit be paid to someone who lives in an area where there are no jobs? Or should there be something else - “basic living allowance” or something like that.
Despite the CSO statistics I don’t think anyone believes that unemployment was as low as 5% during the boom years. Huge numbers were also taken out of the employment pool during that period too. For example the numbers of single-mothers doubled from the mid-1990s removing many of them from a requirment to work until the youngest child was 18 (the age in Europe is half that) while there was an astonishing increase in disabillity claims. How to you explain over 40,000 more people on disability allowance between 2001 and 2006?
irishtimes.com/newspaper/ire … 94231.html The department’s spending on total short-term and long-term illness and disability payments has increased from €1.1 billion in 2001 to €2.1 billion in 2006 [and] to €2.7 billion in 2011, while the numbers receiving these payments have increased from* 173,000 (2001) to 216,000 (2006) to 242,000 (2011)**.”*
(Both of these categories wouldn’t have been included in the unemployment figures - yet they increased substantially.)
All of this is undoubtedly true. But what’s the alternative? Remove all requirement for a signing-on, and open the floodgates to widespread fraud? There’s already far too much fraud, too many people on dole and nixers. Yes, it is a minority, I’m not disputing that, but the minority that do it add a costly burden to the system as well as putting the whole system into disrepute and adding to the emotional burden placed on the genuine jobseeker. If there was no dole fraud, no faked disability, then there would be less shame in being on the dole queue, no suspicion that you were on the take
There must be better ways of doing this, but just scrapping the dole queue and paying out as we are now isn’t the solution
Signing on once a month is more than enough imo along with tough penalties for anyone found to be cheating the system. There could be more proactive meetings every week with someone or with groups to try and encourage them to retrain or to give them advice on how set out on their own and create new jobs for themselves. Help people to create their own solution.
I agree that the present system is a joke and there must be a better way found for society at large, our political parties are too weak-willed to try anthing new though.
Having been in the situation in 80/90s and later I do think there’s something to be said for weekly signing. I hated it so much that it made determined not to be on it for long. As I discovered when briefly on the dole during the bubble era it was really easy to coast along on monthly signing and no prodding from welfare. Actually they seemed glad to have someone to talk to on a quiet afternoon!
That time on welfare back in the 80/90s made me cynical about the property bubble as I was always looking at the sustainability of every job and very little inspired me during the 00s. WIth that in mind I took a job few wanted in 06 that I knew would be there when property keeled over, it paid off.
Move basic subsistence onto a negative income tax system. Everyone over the age of 18 is entitled to a minimum amount per month. No signing on; no social stigma; no interruption of your day. However, it’s a pretty basic amount of money.
If you are actively looking for work/working, an additional job seeker/job holder allowance is added to your basic NIT. To avail of this, you must be prepared to move house, to engage in public works, to engage in charitable works, to sign on, to be available for interview at the drop of a hat and so on.
What does this achieve?
Honesty - we’re no longer treating people who live in the arse end of Ballynoeconomicactivitywhatsoever as actively seeking work.
Removal of perverse incentives - part of the point of an NIT is that you should always be better off with a job.
Clarity - people who get the additional allowance clearly commit to a set of responsibilities.
There have to be checks and balances, it is fairly easy really. An ATM style registration point that you must pass through within a 48 hour period each week, certainly with a camera so that the person can be verified or preferably with a fingerprint sensor, forget to register once lose 50% of that week, twice, lose a week, etc… pretty easy stuff. Payback would be very quick. Same booth could be used to link to a central office via video for any queries, etc…
Penalties for being caught working while drawing dole should be disqualification from dole for 10 years, caught claiming fraudulently for other reasons the same.
Of course, the lack of broadband might be a little snag.
On the Skibereen lack of work, it is a sad reality that ireland has killed off the desire within many to have their own business or to take a chance with capital. I live in latin America and the majority of engineers we interview for work say their goal is to own their own business and htey mean it, we hire them out of college and they soak up information for 5-10 years and then go off and try it, have several ex-employees with their own thing going and in a broad range of industries and services. Ireland has to find a way to promote private industry, one incentive would be to reduce dole but allow an almost equal payment for the 1st year or two of staritng your own business with the obvious need to auddit and remove once the business is sustainable.