New figures show one in seven people on the dole in Ireland has never worked.

The "disturbingly shocking" figures, released by Social Protection Minister Joan Burton's department, show the number of people confined to the 'dole for life.'

The figures appear to vindicate the minister's previous comments that to some people in Ireland, living on welfare benefits has become a "lifestyle choice."

According to the Irish Independent, Colm Keaveney, the rebel chairman of the Labour Party who obtained the statistics, said it was shocking how many people the system has "facilitated" in not making any contribution to the State.

"It's about social justice, plain and simple, and these disturbingly shocking figures require a full investigation," he said.

The figures, which are broken down by age and region, reveal people who have been totally reliant on Jobseeker's Benefit their entire adult lives, without making any contribution by way of PRSI payments.

The Live Register figures are not to be mistaken as a measure of unemployment, which stands at 426,900 people. Although, according to the real unemployed figures, contained in the CSO Quarterly National Household Survey, the number of unemployed persons is 294,600.

These figures reveal that 43,375 people, or one in seven of those in receipt of the €188-a-week Jobseeker's Benefit, have never been in employment. Of those, one in three are ages 35 or older, making them far more likely to have children.

Mr Keaveney called it an intolerable situation.

"Based on the figures, there is a strong possibility of children growing up with parents who have never contributed to the State."

The figures also reveal that there are more than 2,677 people aged between 60 and 65 who have never made any PRSI contribution.

PRSI has to be paid by all full-time and part-time employees and self-employed people with a minimum annual income who are aged 16 or over.

"Figures like this cut to the core and place the country's social cohesion at risk. Everyone who is in a position to make a contribution must do so," said Mr Keaveney.

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