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INOU Annual Delegate Conference 2024

22 May 2024 - 11:43 am


The Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed (INOU) held our Annual Delegate Conference (ADC) on Wednesday 22nd May, 2024 in the Ashling Hotel in Dublin. Joanne Farrell, INOU Chairperson, welcomed the delegates to the conference. Joanne noted with sadness the people who had passed away over the past year, including Ann Fergus, former Chairperson, who had been so involved in the work of the INOU for over thirty years; and Barrie McLatchie, who for nearly 25 years had represented Joanne’s organisation, the Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre (BURC), on the INOU’s National Executive Committee.

Five motions were debated and passed at the Conference including:

  1. The INOU calls on the Government to increase the Community Employment and TUS payment rates to further enable people to take-up these positions.

  2. The INOU calls on the Government to change the system for working part-time and signing-on to one based on the number of hours worked rather than the number of days. The current system is very unfair and is impacting on unemployed people taking up some work opportunities.

  3. The INOU demands that the Government benchmarks all social welfare rates at a level which is sufficient to lift people above the poverty line and provide them with a Minimum Essential Standard of Living; and to properly support unemployed people and others marginalised in the labour market to participate in meaningful education, training and employment programmes.

  4. The INOU calls on the Government to deliver wrap around employment and support services that really meet the needs of people who are unemployed, regardless of whether or not they are on a social welfare payment, and to support them to access decent work while appropriately addressing any barriers they experience.

  5. As Ireland seeks to address the challenges of automation, digitalisation, and the move to a climate neutral economy, BURC urges the Government to properly support unemployed people and others marginalised in the labour market, to participate in education, training and employment programmes that will ensure they gain access to decent employment.

In the roundtable discussions at the Conference delegates discussed seven different topics from the perspective of their work or lived experience; identifying what are the issues that need to be addressed; and what should be sought to ensure they are addressed properly. The range of topics included:

  • Welfare-to-work barriers and improving welfare-to-work supports;

  • Access to quality training and education;

  • Securing adequate levels of income;

  • The role of Community Employment, TUS and other labour market programmes;

  • Quality and inclusive employment services

  • The impact of technological changes

  • Accessing decent jobs

The INOU also published its Annual Report for 2023 and in presenting it to the Conference delegates, John Stewart, INOU Coordinator noted that it contains “Comprehensive details of all the work undertaken in 2023” including:

  • Agreement on a Remote / Home Working Policy and that this arrangement is working well;

  • A significant increase in the number and range of on-line events reported on at the last AGM continued over the past year, and that on-line events will continue to be a feature into the future;

  • Welfare to Work Information/Support:

    • Over 7,000 queries

    • Continued participation in-person information events/jobs fairs

    • Production of the 30th edition of ‘Working for Work’ well advanced;

  • Membership Development: deepened links with a wide range of organisations including a North / South dimension;

  • Continued to host the Samaritans Conversations with Vulnerable People training events;

  • Continued linkages with Affiliates - very high levels of participation;

  • Significant overall increase in Training Services, including Bite Size events; on-going delivery of QQI and non-accredited Training Services on-line;

  • Successful outcome of the QQI Re-engagement Process;

  • Local Training Initiative programme Building Futures Year 13 completed and Year 14 working towards completion; and Local Training Initiative programme Shaping Futures Year 4 completed and Year 5 working towards completion;

  • The Community Employment Project, with a provision for 21 participants, continues to play an important role in the running of the INOU;

  • Very significant body of policy work and representation completed;

  • Four issues of the INOU’s e-bulletin were published and distributed in 2023.

In his closing remarks John thanked the staff for all their work throughout the year, and the National Executive Committee for their on-going support for the work of the organisation. A fuller picture of the extent and range of the work the INOU undertook in 2023 is available in our Annual Report, which is available on our website linked here