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Burton’s comments a spineless attack on vulnerable people – Cullinane

19 July, 2011

Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane has described Joan Burton’s comments about unemployed people making lifestyle choices to stay on the dole as a spineless attack on the most vulnerable people in the state.

Speaking in the Seanad today Senator Cullinane said the only choice for many people out of work is the dole, or the plane out of the country.

Senator Cullinane said:

“The Minister is misleading and attempting to distract the public by claiming that people are deciding not to work, as a lifestyle choice.

“The fact is, there simply isn't employment just waiting for the long term unemployed to take up. Some 100,000 young people have emigrated, and there are in excess of 460,000 people unemployed, 14,500 of which in my own county. These people are the victims of bad policies on the part of politicians.

“It is not their fault and it is wrong to blame them and to stigmatise them. For many of these, the only choice they can make is whether to take the plane or the dole.

“In my view it's an attempt by the labour party and the government to divert attention from their failure to create jobs, and their betrayal of their promises to get people back to work, and to protect the vulnerable.

“These comments are a slap in the face for those people who get up every day of the week, submitting CVs to countless employers and filling out countless application forms, only to hear nothing back.

“Unemployment, and particularly long term unemployment are often accompanied by low self esteem. These disgraceful comments will certainly not help. When the unemployed hear such comments from well paid politicians, many of whom, frankly, live in ivory towers, it simply adds insult to injury.

“This was a spineless attack on the most vulnerable people in the state; issue of long term unemployment is very serious and complex, and should not be trivialised.

“We should be having a debate on how we get people back to work, and the government should deliver on its promises to create employment, rather than insulting the vulnerable.” ENDS

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