Youth groups form mock airport queue in protest over cuts
Campaigners want Government to reverse decision to reduce welfare rates for jobseekers under 26
Campaigners representing young people formed a mock airport queue outside Leinster House today in a bid to compel the Government to reverse a budget decision to reduce social welfare rates for jobseekers under the age of 26.
The budget lowered the dole rate for new entrants aged under-25 to €100.
That rate previously applied only to those aged under 22. Those aged 25 will also get a reduced rate of €144.
Only those aged 26 and upwards will get the full jobseekers’ 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.
Protestors queued behind two doorways: one marked “€100” and the other marked “emigration”.
The event was attended by a coalition of campaigners from youth groups but organised by We’re Not Leaving, which was set up to address what spokeswoman Moira Murphy (24) described as a “youth crisis”.
She said the idea that people aged between 18 and 24 can 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 incentivise young people 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.
“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.”