Speaking from Leinster House this evening Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty has said the attitude of the government towards young people is “utterly disgraceful and will lead to a generation of emigration”.
“The announcement that the government intends to slash dole payments for those under 21 to €100 and under 25 to €150 shows the sheer contempt that this government has for our young people.
“Already we know that some young people see no future in this country and are choosing to emigrate. Due to the government’s mishandling of the economy, those that have decided to stay; many of them highly qualified professionals have little option but to rely on social welfare payments.
“The suggestion by the Minister that cutting social welfare payments will encourage young people to go out and get a job is ludicrous. There are no jobs.
“No young person wants to sit at home on the dole. They want to work. They want to use the skills they have learnt. Those who have started families want to be able to provide for them. Such a deliberate target of our young people in this way is a recipe for social unrest.
“The Taoiseach thinks it is fair that he takes a 20% cut on his €280,000 wage while at the same time cutting dole payments of €200 by over 50% for those under 25. How could anyone in their right mind think this is fair? It would be interesting to see how An Taoiseach would manage on €100 a week. My thinking is not very well.
“The attitude of this Government towards young people is beyond contempt. This disgraceful measure will achieve nothing but to force thousands of young people to emigrate. Parts of the west including my own county of Donegal have experienced emigration like this before. Another generation of young people will leave because of this budget.
“Minister Lenihan has told us that we need to rediscover our optimism for our country’s future but this budget has ensured that it is a bleak future ahead for young people in this country.” ENDS