Minister's words 'moronic' - FG TD


A FINE Gael TD has berated a party ministerial colleague for making “moronic” comments about young people who are unemployed.

Waterford deputy John Deasy yesterday took another Fine Gael TD, Minister of State Shane McEntee, to task for what he maintained were “polarising remarks” made in an interview with a Sunday newspaper.

Mr McEntee said young people should not be entitled to receive social welfare unless they were in some form of employment or participating in a work scheme.

“I see young lads queuing for the dole on Thursday and then walking out of the off-licence with a slab [a case containing 24 cans] of beer,” he said.

At yesterday’s meeting of the Dáil’s spending watchdog, the Public Accounts Committee, Mr Deasy said that a Minister of State at the weekend had made comments that were “very polarising”. He added: “I personally though they were moronic.”

The Waterford TD later confirmed he was referring to Mr McEntee.

He said it was clear Mr McEntee did not understand that young people between 18 and 21 get €100 per week on jobseeker’s allowance, rising to €144 when they reached 22.

“You would not buy too many slabs of beer for that,” he said.

“There are 15,000 people unemployed in Waterford and most young people have emigrated. I could run a constituency clinic in Perth, Australia,” he added.

Mr Deasy said Mr McEntee’s dismissal of young people on the dole was not based on any kind of reality. “I think his comments were irresponsible and moronic and I think he should clarify them,” he said.

Mr McEntee, when contacted, said he had no comments to make about the criticism from his party colleague. In the interview with the Sunday Times, Mr McEntee said young people should be asked to do some kind of work before being entitled to receive welfare payments.