Unemployed 'forced' to join TA

Unemployed 'forced' to join TA

The Department for Employment and Learning has denied claims that jobseekers in Co Fermanagh are being 'forced' to join the Territorial Army or risk losing their benefits.

The clarification comes after Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan expressed concerns about advice given in job centres.

He said some unemployed people in Enniskillen have been told to apply for a position within the Territorial Army (TA), which is currently recruiting.

"This situation beggars belief and demonstrates no understanding or sensitivities whatsoever to the Irish nationalist or republican community here, which makes up almost 50% of the population and knows all too well of the history of aggression by the British Army in Ireland," said Mr Flanagan.

"It now appears that a form of conscription has arrived on this island as a result of the recession and young men and women, desperate for work, are now being forced to join the British Army against their wishes."

DEL said a vacancy within the TA has been advertised on the JobCentre Online system since the beginning of last month.

"However, the department can confirm that jobseekers have not been advised that failure to apply for the Territorial Army posts could potentially result in or contribute to a loss of benefits," added a spokesman for the department.

Mr Flanagan said he has written to the Minister for Employment and Learning to ensure that people who have no interest in joining the army are not being advised to enlist.


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