A Fine Gael proposal to give unemployed foreign nationals six months' free dole in exchange for going home was yesterday strongly criticised by Fianna Fail and FAS.
A voluntary repatriation scheme for the 40,000 foreign nationals on the live register was mooted by Fine Gael enterprise spokesman Leo Varadkar, at a meeting of the Oireachtas enterprise committee with FAS, the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed and Enterprise Ireland.
His proposal centred on the idea that six months of social welfare benefits be paid to foreign national workers prepared to return to their country of origin. Such workers cost the State €400m every year in dole payments, according to Mr Varadkar. But Fianna Fail's Thomas Byrne labelled the proposal as a "new low in Irish politics".