The Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection has confirmed that there are 24 JobBridge interns currently working in Government Departments and agencies.

Responding to a question in the Dáil this afternoon, Kevin Humphreys confirmed the figure, adding that Government Departments give "good quality work experience", so people can get into employment.

Responding to Socialist TD Joe Higgins, Minister Humphreys said that there were 330 internships in Government Departments and agencies since JobBridge began in 2011.

Mr Higgins accused the Government of using the internship schemes to "cynically" manipulate unemployment figures.

He said that it was "yellow pack cheap labour" and asked how many interns had been hired in the Department of Social Protection.

Minister Humprheys confirmed that there had been eight interns in the Department of Social Protection over the past 3 years, adding that some of those interns "have moved onto prestigious employment".