Date Released: 15 October 2013
The Budget 2014 proposal to cut social welfare payments for under 26 year olds is an attempt to drive young workers into jobs without payment or out of the country, according to a coalition of youth campaign groups who will be protesting outside the Dáil on Wednesday, 16th October at 5.00 p.m.
Ronan Burtenshaw, 23, of the campaign group - We’re Not Leaving, said: “The move in this budget to target young people again by slashing dole rates for those under 26 is a cynical attempt to load more hardship onto a generation already bearing the brunt of a crisis we did not create.
“Youth unemployment has been stuck at 30% for four years, despite the majority of the 500,000 who have emigrated since the onset of the economic crisis being young people. Eurostat figures show that for every job there are 26 applicants. I do not believe this cut is about making young people take decent jobs but about driving down wages and conditions for all workers. It is an attempt to force a generation to work for next to nothing in Government schemes created only to cater for the interests of business people.”
Máire Ní Mhurchú, who is 24 and in receipt of social welfare benefits, said: “The Government clearly sees young people as soft targets. Most young
people aren't in trade unions or organised in any way to effectively oppose what is being done to them. When we're active and organised, willing to take the fight to the Government - they'll take us seriously. Until then we're lambs to the slaughter.
“It is a cut that is going to force many young people who are entering the job market or lose their employment, out of the country or into a state of complete despair.”
Young Workers’ Network spokesman, Dan O’Neill, 27, said: “There was a failure to adequately oppose the cut to social welfare rates for those under 21 in Budget 2010 and 2011. That mistake will not be repeated as it is clear all workers will be affected by the creation of a generation of young people made desperate for any source of income.
“This cut is part of a bigger scheme to force down the living conditions of all. Forced emigration, unemployment, precarious work, internships, fee hikes, grant cuts, lack of affordable housing, and the mental health crisis - they are part of the one picture for young people in this country. Young people need to come together to organise and build a decent future in our own country.”
The protest outside the Dáil tomorrow is part of a wider campaign of resistance to Government attacks against young people, with a Young People's Assembly being held in Liberty Hall Theatre, Dublin, on Saturday, 9th November.