2018 Annual Delegate Conference

31 May 2018

The Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed held our Annual Delegate Conference on Wednesday 30th May, in Wynn’s Hotel, Dublin 1, and were delighted to welcome Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty, TD, to give the keynote address.

In welcoming the Minister and the delegates to the Conference, Ann Fergus, INOU Chairperson noted that “while the falling numbers of people who are unemployed is most welcome, the reality is that for those who remain or become unemployed, managing day-to-day is a real challenge”.

Addressing this challenge was reflected in the motions to the Conference, one of which called for the Government “to benchmark 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”.

Another motion called “on the Government to increase the Christmas Bonus to 100% of normal weekly payments for customers.” This motion came from the INOU’s General Branch, the mechanism through which unemployed people play an active part in the running and development of the organisation.

In the Roundtable discussions, delegates looked at the immediate term and in particular what issues Budget 2019 needs to address. In the medium to longer term delegates also discussed the issues arising for unemployed people and organisations working on issues of employment / unemployment, poverty, equality, community and local development.

As Bríd O’Brien, INOU Head of Policy and Media noted “In an improving labour market there are particular challenges facing people who remain distant from the labour market and these challenges must not be lost sight of”. Bríd continued “it is important that people realise that ‘full employment’ is an economic concept and does not mean that everyone who would like a job can get one”. There are many barriers facing people including ageism, ‘postcodeism’, and other forms of discrimination. There are also practical challenges like a lack of affordable childcare or accessible transport.

Another motion to Conference from the General Branch focused on “a voluntary programme of mental health assessments and supports” that would “help people deal with the blow of becoming unemployed, to help people cope with the stress of being long term unemployed and to help people to find the best path for them out of unemployment”.   

The INOU also published its Annual Report for 2017 and in presenting it to the Conference delegates, John Stewart, INOU Coordinator noted that in 2017 the organisation:

  • “Marked the 30th Anniversary of the founding of the INOU;
  • Held a major Conference on Best Practice in the Delivery of Employment Services;
  • Published and distributed 25,000 copies of the 24th edition of Working for Work;
  • Participated in numerous information events and jobs fairs;
  • Tracked 335 job announcements relating to 34,394 jobs and linked in with 173 companies that announced jobs to promote employer incentives to recruit people who are unemployed;
  • Met with a wide range of Ministers and Departmental officials and other key stakeholders;
  • Participated in a range of committees/structures on issues affecting unemployed people;
  • Made submissions on a range of themes relating to unemployment/employment, education and training;
  • Completed a very demanding calendar of training events;
  • Dealt with many thousands of queries through our welfare rights information service;
  • Met directly with hundreds of unemployed people at the various events we attended during the year;
  • Completed significant work on the third phase of the Employment Services Research Project;
  • Ran a series of Focus Group meetings and Regional Discussion Forums;
  • Ran a number of training/development/capacity building events.”

The INOU’s Annual Report 2017 is on our website and can be read in full by following this linkhttps://www.inou.ie/download/pdf/inou_ar_2017.pdf