Laois/Offaly Independent TD, Carol Nolan

"Not too late" for Minister to reverse Job Clubs closures

Independent TD for Laois Offaly Carol Nolan has said it is not too late for the Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys to reverse her decision to dismantle Local Employment Services (LES) and Job Clubs in Laois-Offaly.

Deputy Nolan was speaking after she attended a protest by LES and Jobs Club staff who insist that the process being proposed by the Minister will lead to the effective commercialisation of those seeking employment and job losses across existing LES and Jobs Clubs.

“I was delighted to show my unwavering support for the LES and Jobs Club staff at the protest today and to renew my commitment to achieve a better way forward for all concerned.

The Minister must take on board the simple fact that her plan to essentially privatise local employment services is a retrograde step that ignores and undermines the person-centred approach that we have seen in operation in the Offaly and Laois for the last 25 years.

I certainly agree with the position put forward by the Portarlington Jobs Club that Minister Humphreys and this Government suspend all tendering plans and establish a stakeholder Forum between the Minister and representatives from Job Clubs and Local Employment Services to examine the current services, identify issues of concern and bring forward solutions that will allow current services to be maintained.

I also support the proposal to immediately examine the possibility of merging Job Clubs in their existing structure and Local Employment Services as recommended by the 2017 Indecon report,” concluded Deputy Nolan.