Internship Programme a Missed Opportunity: NT Ogra Fianna Fail

North Tipperary Ogra Fianna Fail has this week criticised the Minister for Social Protection, that she has missed an opportunity for a wide-reaching, high quality National Internship Scheme which would have real results for thousands of unemployed young people in Tipperary.

Ogra have welcomed the initiative but Chairman Colm Reddan has said that it is a less ambitious version of the internship scheme announced by the previous Government in December.

“It just doesn’t go far enough. It is simply a rehash of the one announced in the last Budget, except the terms are less favourable. Participants in Minister Burton’s scheme will get €50 a week, instead of the €100 offered by Fianna Fáil in Brian Lenihan’s last budget. The duration of the internships has also been cut from a maximum of a year, to just 6 to 9 months.

“It is disappointing that the Minister didn’t set a higher target for the number of participants in this scheme. An initiative like this is a win-win for both participants and employers. The interns will gain valuable experience while employers will benefit from their skills and from simply having more hands on deck in a climate where they can’t afford their wage bills. We would like to see more than just 5,000 people directly benefiting from this.”

It fails to harness the full potential of the voluntary sector, according to Ogra Secretary Gerard Fogarty.“There are two rules in Minister Burton’s scheme that will exclude many of the 23,000 voluntary organisations at the heart of communities around the country. The organisations involved in the scheme must already have staff who are on their own payroll. This rules out thousands of community groups like GAA clubs or local charities, who are likely to benefit most from a scheme like this.

“On top of this, participating organisations must also be legal entities, for example a Limited Company, and not sole traders. Again this is a barrier for the community and voluntary sector as well as many small businesses, the backbone of the economy in North Tipp, who also don’t qualify under these rules” added Fogarty.

Colm Reddan concluded that “we call on the Government to review these massive oversights in their first budget.”

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