The Minister for Social Protection was greeted by jeers and protests as she officially opened the new Intreo offices on Dominick Street in Limerick.
The offices, which have had a complete makeover in recent months, combine the former employment services of FÁS and the community welfare services which were previously operated by the HSE with those offered by the Department of Social Protection.
Around 20 people staged a protest outside the offices on Friday to express their opposition to the Jobbridge scheme as Minister Burton was performing the official opening inside.
The protesters could be heard jeering and heckling the minister as she addressed staff and invited guests included Mayor Kathleen Leddin and Minister Jan O’Sullivan.
Speaking ing to reporters afterwards, Ms Burton defended the Jobbridge scheme saying that independent research has shown that between 50% and 60% of participants end up securing employment as a result.
“Jobbridge lets somebody who really doesn’t have any relevant work experience and no work experience at all get their foot on the ladder of being in a job and that is critical for people’s self confidence but also to employers,” she said.