Youth groups form mock airport queue at Leinster House
Demonstration over budget decision to cut jobseeker’s allowance for those under 26
Moira Murphy (left) of the group We’re Not Leaving leads the protest at Leinster House. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times
Campaigners from youth groups formed a mock airport queue outside Leinster House yesterday in protest at the Government’s decision to reduce social welfare rates for jobseekers under 26.
The budget lowered the dole rate for new entrants aged under 25 to €100 a week. That rate previously applied only to those under 22. Those aged 25 will also get a reduced rate of €144 and only those aged 26 and over will get the full rate of €188.
Yesterday’s demonstration saw about 60 people – many carrying suitcases – form a mock queue for the airport at the gates of Leinster House. There were two doorways – one marked “€100” and the other marked “emigration”. The queue formed at the latter.
The event, which was attended by a coalition of campaigners from youth groups, was organised by We’re Not Leaving, which was set up to address what spokeswoman Moira Murphy (24) called a “youth crisis”.
She said the idea that people aged between 18 and 24 could live on €100 per week was “absolutely unacceptable”.
Union of Students in Ireland president Joe O’Connor said comments made by Taoiseach Enda Kenny last week that the measure to cut the dole was designed to give young people an incentive to go back to work was “absolutely not the case”.
“There has been a huge amount of talk and rhetoric in the last week about young people choosing the flat-screen television, choosing not to take up work, training or education, and that this acts as an incentive for these people to go back to work,” he said.
“These young people – many of them highly skilled, qualified graduates – have been forced into the situation by the economic crisis . . . A major part of the solution seems to be to drive down the live register numbers by driving young people out of the country – and that’s wholly unacceptable.”