Date Released: 24 October 2013
Youth campaign groups, representing young workers, the unemployed and students protested against proposals contained in Budget 2014 to cut Job Seekers Allowance for those under 26 by forming a 'Dáil queue' on Kildare Street, Dublin, on Wednesday, 23rd October.
Young workers queued outside a door marked 'emigration' set up at the gates of the Dáil, to symbolize the choice which is being forced on thousands of people by the decision to cut Jobseekers Allowance payment so those under 26.
Ronan Burtenshaw, of the campaign group 'We're Not Leaving' said, "The Government has announced that, under the 'Better Off in Work' scheme, unemployed people will receive letters to tell them life is better when they have jobs. This is not news to anyone on the dole.
"The problem is the lack of jobs, not a non-existent 'welfare culture'. Youth unemployment has stood at 30% for four years, there are 26 applicants for every available job and half-a-million people have emigrated since the recession began. Young people would take the jobs if they were available. They aren't."
Cat Finn, of the SIPTU supported Young Workers Network, said: “There is a very disturbing failure by many politicians to understand the realties for unemployed young people in Ireland. This attitude is forcing ever-greater numbers of young people out of the country. This mean’s Ireland is losing a motivated young workforce and with that the possibly of future sustained economic development. The Government’s approach is self defeating and defies logic.”
The protest was also supported by the Union of Students in Ireland, Mandate Youth, Unite Youth, Scambridge and the youth committee of the Communication Workers Union.
Following the Dáil protest, a social media campaign was launched calling on young people to send job rejection letters they've received from employers to their local councillors, TDs and the Department of Social Protection.
Youth activist, Moria Murphy, said: "We want to make politicians aware that young people are trying to find work, in many cases for months on end without success."