Government is punishing, demoralising and discriminating against young people – Ó Snodaigh
Speaking in the Dáil tonight, Sinn Féin Social Protection Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh claimed that the approach of the government has been to punish, demonise and discriminate against young people.
Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:
“In Budget 2010 Fianna Fáil cut dole payments for the under 25s. Fine Gael and the Labour Party voted against the proposal arguing strongly, along with Sinn Féin, that the cuts do nothing to address the shortage of jobs, there are nowhere near enough places available in education and training and it will simply drive even more young people to emigrate.
“Now, Fine Gael and the Labour Party are cutting the dole for young jobseekers even further. The cuts still do nothing to address the shortage of jobs, there are still nowhere near enough places in education and training and it will heighten the emigration of our young. The social welfare cuts are wrong, you should reverse them. It’s blatant discrimination against young people – I believe this is contrary to the Equal Status Acts.
“Income supports for the young unemployed have been targeted for cuts across the board. Not only is €32 million cut from jobseeker payments and the supposed safety net Supplementary Welfare Allowance payment. The government have also made cuts to apprentices and people in training – the contribution charge for periods spent in Institutes of Technology by Fás apprentices will no longer be covered costing individual apprentices over €1,000. And training allowances for participants in Fás and Youthreach are abolished along with the €20 top-up paid to the long-term unemployed who take up training. Young people will be hit by these measures also.
“‘Pathways to Work’ is the ultimate misnomer. With 35 jobseekers for every advertised vacancy there’s a pretty big elephant in the room – pathways to what work? The government have been relying on emigration and under-resourced activation schemes to shrink the live register figures. – and sure they have problem staffing Intreo offices with qualified personnel who could maybe address shortfalls in these adults CVs. But no the public service recruitment embargo prevents those qualified and on the dole queues from being hired to help others on the dole.
“Far from guaranteeing the youth of Ireland anything meangingful, the approach of this government (and of Fianna Fáil before it) has been to punish, demonise, demoralise and discriminate against them.”