Fianna Fáil Social Protection spokesperson Willie O’Dea is accusing Minister Burton of leaving people under 26 without work, education or a decent standard of living. Deputy O’Dea made the comments after it was revealed that more than 85,000 people under 26 are neither earning nor learning.
“The figures, released in response to a parliamentary question reveal that 85,200 young people are not in work or education programmes, while more than 56,000 describe themselves as unemployed. Not only are these young people left in an effective limbo, they’ve also seen their dole payments slashed from €190 to €100 euro a week. The Minister tried to claim that the rationale behind the cutting of the benefit was to encourage people off the welfare system, however there are not enough training and education places to cater for the number of people out of work.
“One in six young people are now caught in this system whereby they have no job and no place on a training or education course. The majority (39,100) are in the southern and eastern region, with 20,000 in Dublin and another 26,100 in the border, midlands and west region. According to the Minister herself, there are fewer than 10,000 young people currently participating in education schemes like SOLAS, VTOS, and Youthreach. What about the other 75,000? Why should they be forced to accept reduced benefits because of Government’s failure to fulfil its promises and provide education and training places for them? Young people who want to take up a third level course are also being hit, following a series of registration fee hikes over the past three years, a move that is alienating thousands of students from continuing on in education.
“The Government’s record on tackling youth unemployment has been extremely poor. Ministers have created much fanfare about the Youth Guarantee scheme, yet other than a pilot scheme in Ballymun, there has been no sense of urgency in rolling out the programme. There has been much backslapping in recent weeks about signs of an economic recovery, however that positivity is in stark contrast with the reality that tens of thousands of our young people are experiencing. The Government’s job creation plan is simply not working, young people are continuing to emigrate and those who decide to stay behind are being left with limited education opportunities and reduced jobseeker’s payments.
“It’s imperative that the Government begins to create real, tangible jobs for these young people instead of schemes like Gateway, JobBridge and Pathways to work, which merely massage the Live Register figures and hide the real unemployment figures”.