My Department is establishing a new National Employment and Entitlements Service, as provided for in the Programme for Government, which will integrate employment and benefit payment services within the Department. This is a key element of the Government's Pathways to Work Strategy. I would like to stress that the Pathways to Work policy is not a policy working in isolation from other actions. The Government launched its Action Plan for Jobs with a view to creating a net additional 100,000 jobs over the next five years. Pathways to Work is a complementary policy designed to support people currently on the live register to access those jobs.
The roll-out of NEES offices has always been envisaged as a multi-annual programme of change within my Department in relation to how the Department provides its services. The full schedule for the roll-out of NEES offices has not been finalised but, mindful of the unemployment rate in the county, Waterford will be given full consideration for inclusion in the Programme at the earliest possible date.