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Finance Bill imposes punitive VAT on local authority charges – Ó Caoláin

10 February, 2010 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Speaking in the Seanad Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty has said that government inaction on youth unemployment coupled with foolish decisions contained in Budget 2010 will force many young people to leave these shores in search of work.

He said:

“The downturn in the economy has resulted in massive job losses. Students who have spent four and five years in training have left college to find that there are no jobs for them. In Donegal South West there are around 2,269 young people under 25 on the live register. State wide there are 85,910 young people under 25 signing on.

“Donegal has always been at the bottom of the barrel in terms of employment and even when there was money available no substantial effort was made to create sustainable employment opportunities for young people. Indeed only last week I discovered that since the appointment of Mary Coughlan as Minster for Enterprise, Trade and Employment there has not been a single visit by the IDA to Donegal South West. Three site visits were made in 2004 and 2005; this was before Mary Coughlan became a Minister.

“Recent decisions made by government such as those to cut job seekers allowance to €100 a week for 20-21 year olds and €150 for 22-24 year olds; the removal of eligibility criteria for student grants for those on the Back to Education Allowance and the reduction in allowances for participants in Vocational Training Schemes, Youthreach and Traveller Training Centres show such foolish short-sightedness by government. Yes cutting these programmes may save the government some money in the short term but they will force so many young people onto the dole queues and inevitably out of the country.

“With the cost of going to college estimated at around €8,000 per year and with the student maintenance grant cut by 5%, thousands of students simply will not be able to cope with the financial pressure and will drop out, going either onto the dole queue or out of the country. Our desperate grants system ground to a halt at the start of this academic year and indeed some two and half thousand students still have not received the first instalment of their grant.

“All of these factors have influenced in some way the dramatic rise in youth unemployment in this state over the past year. However cuts are not the answer.

“Over the next few months we in Sinn Féin intend to focus strongly on jobs for the unemployed and jobs creation. Last year we produced a comprehensive jobs creation and retention plan entitled ‘Getting Ireland Back to Work’ the proposals of which were largely ignored by government.

“I am calling on the government to recognise that this problem is not going away. There are initiatives which could be explored such as improving the employability of the unemployed, implementing a comprehensive jobs creation strategy, a complete overhaul of FÁS, reducing early school leaving and eliminating illiteracy, exploring plans to promote entrepreneurship and self-employment.

“If the government continue at the rate they are going and do nothing emigration will be the only result.” ENDS

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