Following a controversial remark from Judge Mary Devins about social welfare in Ireland being a "Polish charity," statistics secured by the Sunday Independent reveal that 25 percent of Polish nationals living in Ireland are now on the dole.
In an opinion piece in the Irish Sunday Independent, columnist John Drennan says that while Judge Devins was forced to issue two apologies about her comments, statistics reveal that the Polish community in Ireland "are suffering even more heavily than Irish residents from the jobs crisis."
Drennan says: "Currently, 100,162 Polish immigrants of working age are resident in Ireland and 23,905, or just under a quarter of these, are receiving some form of Jobseeker's Allowance or Benefit.
"Significantly, the statistics also reveal that whilst Polish citizens constitute 3.3 per cent of the population aged between 15 and 64, they account for 4.39 per cent of claimants of unemployment schemes that are open to the working population."
He goes on to say that one of the key factors in the Polish worker unemployment rate is the collapse of the building and manufacturing industries.
"Of the 95,646 people receiving Jobseeker's Benefit, 6,057 or 6.33 per cent of total recipients are Polish. Jobseekers Benefit is paid to individuals who have been in work and earned enough stamps via PRSI payments," writes Drennan.
"Jobseeker's Allowance, which is means tested, but is also paid to long-term employed individuals whose benefits have run out is currently being paid to 309,885 individuals, 14,051 or 4.53 per cent of which are Polish.
"Polish immigrant take-up of the Back to Work Allowance Scheme, which encourages unemployed people (among others) to take up employment is particularly high at 8.7 per cent or 1,044 of the total of 11,955 applicants.
"Relatively few Poles, 2.32 pe rcent or 2,083, are found amongst the 89,735 citizens on One-Parent Allowance, whilst the Polish take-up of other schemes such as Back to Education, Farm Assist and Pre-retirement allowance is even smaller. Currently 36,700 people are receiving such benefits, of which 670 or 1.83 per cent are Poles.
He concludes: "The figures indicate that whilst unemployment levels are relatively high amongst the Polish community, the overall impact on Irish unemployment figures and costs -- 23,905 or 4.39 per cent of the total -- is still peripheral."
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