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Ireland's welfare system attacked

By John Mulligan

The Republic's social-welfare system is a disincentive that stops some people taking up jobs and needs to be overhauled, the boss of one of Ireland's largest privately owned companies has said.

Sean O'Driscoll, chairman and chief executive of consumer electrical firm Glen Dimplex – which employs 12,000 people around the world and has annual sales of €2bn (£1.7bn) – says there are jobs available but that many employers can't get people to take them.

"There is a huge number of people in this country who are in very difficult circumstances and I know some of those people, so I'm not in any way talking about those unfortunate fellow citizens," he said.

"My real issue is around youth unemployment and some of the longer-term unemployed. Regrettably, we've got ourselves back into a situation in Ireland where there is a disincentive to work, with the way the social welfare system is structured."

Mr O'Driscoll is one of six industry partners appointed last month by the Irish government to assist with the implementation and monitoring of reforms under its Action Plan for Jobs.

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