youth unemployment

Department of Social Protection Logo

Breaking: Irish Government announce 3500 New Jobs* for 18 – 25 year olds!

In efforts to increase employment among 18 – 25 year olds in Ireland, The Department of Social Protection has recently launched two new schemes, First Steps and JobsPlus youth.

First Steps, as the name may suggest, in fact contains a series of steps:

  1. You must be eligible for social welfare.
  2. You must receive a pre-placement training course, funded by the Department to prepare you for work placement
  3. You may then work for four days a week for six or nine months. You will receive an additional €50 to your social welfare for your work per week.  (May not be a lot but sounds like you have a job, so far, so good. After all, experience is invaluable when you’re starting out.)
  4. You must use the fifth day of each week to undertake ‘other activities related to job-search‘ (Wait, what? Why am I searching for a job? Don’t I have one?)
  5. You will be supported by a case officer and a mentor from your sponsoring organisation. (Two people are helping me to find a job, while I already *have* a job..?)
  6. You might be lucky enough to find placement with companies such as Tesco and Diageo(Such large, profit organisations are eligible for this scheme? And are willing to offer me a mentor dedicated to helping me find another job while I have some kind of job/placement with them?)


Perhaps the ‘JobsPlus’ in JobsPlus youth indicates that the job(s) is(are) even *more* real than in First Steps?

JobsPlus youth

  1. You must be unemployed for at least 4 months in the last 6 months – and eligible for social welfare.
  2. There are two payment options to the employer – approximately €312 a month per person unemployed between 4 and 24 months and approximately €416 a month per person unemployed for more than 24 months. (Wait – how much of this goes to the employee? Is there a limit to the number of days or hours I will work under this scheme? Where can I find out more information?)
  3. You must work a minimum of 30 hours across 4 days in any 7 day period in a full time position. Part-time, short term or seasonal positions will not be eligible under JobPlus Youth. (According to an additional source)
  4. You will earn €? per week (I couldn’t find this information)
  5. Bonus: If you are currently on a JobBridge scheme you may be eligible for a full-time JobPlus Youth position after 3 months!

“..if you have the required 312 days on the Live Register in the previous 18 months, or 624 days in the previous 30 months.”

(Wait, so a JobBridge can lead to a JobsPlus now? How many steps are there to a ‘Job’?)

**editor’s note:

The title reference to “New Jobs [sic]” may refer to positions that are neither “new” nor “jobs”, but are in fact traineeships formerly known as jobs.

First Steps does seem to guarantee “new” work for case officers in the Department of Social Protection – ages of case workers not confirmed at this time**

Notes to Editors:

EU Wide Youth Guarantee Compliance

These two schemes are Ireland’s efforts as part of an EU Wide Youth Guarantee to ensure that

young people under the age of 25 receive a good quality offer of employment, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship** within four months of entering the labour market.

**The above two schemes definitely tick the traineeship offer, although there is no common European definition of this word. Indeed pg. 7 of one working document from the EU Commission notes the risk that

young people might have to do several traineeships before they find a proper job

Source: Irish Department for Social Protection: Helping You Build a Better Life


That’s Limerick City 2k14

The biggest news story in Ireland of so far this year features a rap by teenagers from Moyross, Co. Limerick, created to celebrate Limerick City of Culture 2014.

(The rap starts at 1.53 )

The well written rap clearly shows the pride the teenagers have in coming from Limerick. Despite being short (just 23 seconds long), it is honest, evocative and optimistic for the year to come.

However, the reason it made the news was due to a request to censor it from the chief executive of Limerick City of Culture, who felt that the reference to the city “looking rough” was “really not the image we want to portray”. An interesting interpretation, particularly as the line finishes with “there’s no place you’d rather live”. The artistic director, along with two programmers for the year long celebration, has recently resigned citing a number of reasons, one of which apparently referenced interference by the chief executive. Consequently, a public meeting was held last night in Limerick where frustrations about the organisation of the event were vented.

Audio Recording of Public Meeting, Clarion Hotel, Limerick City 3 January 2014

An audio recording of the meeting is available here: )

Today’s most recent outpouring of frustration was humorously referenced by the Rubber Bandits, another talented Limerick duo:



Limerick City of Culture 2014 Facebook Page


(via 12.00pm 04/01/2013 )

Full Text of the Facebook Status

At 11.05pm last night in an act of solidarity to support the cultural groups and citizens of Limerick this page, the official Limerick City of Culture 2014 page was taken over into in order to ensure that the people of Limerick and the cultural groups are heard and that no more fudging and duplicity will take place in public office.

We are seeking a public statement from Conn Murray City and County Manager on the five interviewed candidates for the CEO post,with details of where and when these interviews took place.

We are also calling for more people to attend the next public meeting to enable growing support for good governance on the city of culture board, which up to now has shown itself to be incompetent appointing staff without due process and loosing three senior staff members on their watch.

We further continue the call for the resignation of CEO Patricia Ryan who has no expertise in management, culture or arts or finance. Instead we call for the post of CEO to be advertised alongside the post for Artistic Director that was announced last night and that expressions of interest are sought for both posts. Ms Ryan can apply for one of these posts in competition that is fair and transparent.

Irrespective of whether Mr Cox recommended or did not recommend Ms Ryan, we believe this is besides the point as Mr Murray was aware of their association and so were other members of the committee. The fact that a chairman of a board can negate having any involvement in a key appointment is staggering.

Furthermore we call for the complete resignation of the registered board of directors which currently stands at just two people – on official company house records Mr Tom Gilligan Finance Director and Mr Conn Murray are the only two registered directors, the remainder of people that call themselves board members, such as Mr Cox are a board in name only with no legal authority and a committee with no official jurisdiction. Their acceptance of the resignations of three posts this week should be deemed as null and void as they have no legal authority to make those decisions. A brand new team of professional people is required to ensure that this project is salvaged and given the best possible chance.

Clearly, all is not well in Limerick. The specifics of who, what, why and how are being thrashed out online and offline in social media and traditional media across the country, and the issue may or may not be resolved over the coming days.  The year of celebrations that had only just kicked off on New Year’s Eve now seems to be grinding to a dramatic standstill.

Regardless of what has gone wrong, the rap by the Moyross duo is just one example of young Irish talent that could and should be showcased as part of the celebrations. Despite being excluded from the New Year’s Eve celebrations, they have confirmed that they would be happy to perform at any stage during the year, if they are asked. Given the surge in support for the group in recent days, it will be surprising if they are not asked.

To all of those in Limerick City, if I can borrow some words from the lads from Moyross – please show your love and shine your light out for the kids. Let’s try to shift our well worn cloak of corrupt and petty politics and get back to focusing on what really matters. We owe the youth of Ireland that much.

(For those interested in hearing more from the Moyross Youth Crew – )

Blackberry Picking

It’s that time of the year again here in Ireland – blackberries are appearing in the brambles!

As a kid I used to spend ages on blackberry picking trips, filling sand buckets or any containers with as many as possible.  On a recent trip we collected “a baby’s worth” of blackberries – over 8lb! It looks like there’ll be plenty more to come, too. A real sign that summer is coming to an end, blackberry picking always reminds me of Seamus Heaney’s poem;

Juicy Blackberries

Juicy Blackberries

Late August, given heavy rain and sun..For a full week, the blackberries would ripen…....You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer’s blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots
Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.
Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills
We trekked and picked until the cans were full
Until the tinkling bottom had been covered....Our hands were peppered
With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard’s […]

( Blackberry-Picking, by Seamus Heaney, Irish Nobel Prize Winner)

So far, we’ve made a blackberry and apple crumble and.. lime green blackberry jelly.

Please feel free to share any memories you have of blackberry picking – or any recipe suggestions for the rest of our catch!

Blackberry and Apple Crumble

Blackberry and Apple Crumble

Blackberries & Lime Jelly