Carthy calls on Minister to save Monaghan Local Employment Services
Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, this week made an appeal to Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys to save Monaghan’s Local Employment Service.
Deputy Carthy was speaking during a debate on a Sinn Féin motion which called on Minister Humphreys to reverse her decision to tender out the services currently provided by Jobs Clubs and Local Employment services and to protect the not-for-profit and community-based ethos of employment services.
In his remarks to the Dáil, Carthy pointed to the successful record of Monaghan’s Local Employment Service since it came into operation in 1998. Delivered by Monaghan Integrated Development, Carthy said that the Local Employment service had delivered for communities and especially those who have found themselves unemployed.
He said that Minister Humphreys could save Monaghan’s Local Employment Service by supporting the Sinn Féin motion, but more importantly by implementing it. He accused the government of cynicism by indicating that they would not oppose the motion while the Minister clearly stated that she wouldn’t act on it.
Speaking afterwards, Deputy Carthy said:
“Our communities are not for sale. We must protect community employment services from privatisation.
“Sinn Féin brought this motion to the Dáil to stand up for communities and protect these vital services from being hollowed out by this government.
“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.
“The government’s model is not the person-centred approach that was successfully fostered by the Local Employment Service in Monaghan. It will only result in a process of commercialisation which leaves those who need these services behind.
“Sinn Féin have long campaigned against the privatisation of job activation services, like the disastrous JobPath scheme, which has cost close to €300 million 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. Our motion compels the government to protect not-for-profit services and suspend all plans to tender out employment services. It sought the establishment of 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 disappointed that Minister Humphreys, despite not opposing the motion, indicated in the Dáil that she would not be implementing its contents.
“I will continue to press the government and Minister to get their act together, to stop hiding behind legal advice and to start listening to local communities and to save our Local Employment Service.”