Reduction in Live Register welcomed
There has been a dramatic drop in the numbers on the Live Register since the present Government took office, and a drop of 20,000 in the number of young people signing on, the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs, Mr Ahern, said.
Since they had taken office last year, 40,000 people had left the Live Register - more than anybody predicted. This was not an accident. It was a result of the focus on getting people back to work and back to education.
Mr Patrick McGarry, Roscommon, asked if anybody at the ardfheis agreed with violence against children. No, he said, of course not, because a young person could not defend themselves. "But every day, the State engages in violence against old people."
If the small farmer in the west of Ireland wanted to retire, he had to sell his land. That was the land he was born on. For him to have to sell it and see a stranger there, that was violence. Even when he sold the land, he did not get the full pension - he got less and his nest egg was reduced, Mr McGarry said.
Ms Aine Holt, Dublin West, speaking on women going back into the workforce, said women in Ireland lacked self-confidence. However, she said they had money to train them and women had so much to offer.
Mr Jerome Hegarty, Kerry South, said he was 21 last October and had been interested in family and social affairs since he was small. He said he believed that with the closing down of psychiatric hospitals and more care in the community, carers would have to be well paid. "They are giving full-time care and they should get full-time rates," Mr Hegarty said.
Speakers from the floor called for more public transport in rural areas, and the free fuel scheme for the elderly to be extended throughout the year.