Back to Education Allowance should be open to pandemic payment recipients – Byrne

Published on: 27 May 2020

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education, Thomas Byrne has said that the Back to Education Allowance should be open to those in receipt of the COVID-19 pandemic unemployment payment.

Deputy Byrne said the scheme should be reformed now to allow those unemployed as a result of COVID-19 access education ahead of any withdrawal of the payment.

Deputy Byrne said, “We currently have a situation where almost three out of ten of the workforce are unemployed as a result of ongoing restrictions. We are hopeful that most of these people will be able to return to work once restrictions are lifted but, in many cases, people won’t have jobs to return to.

“In this instance we need to have alternative options and opportunities for these people to return to education, reskill and find a way back to the workforce.

“The Back to Education scheme as currently designed is in place to allow those who are currently experiencing a prolonged period of unemployment to retrain and gain new skills. This should be adjusted immediately so that those who are in receipt of the pandemic unemployment payment can access it.

“The scheme should be adjusted now, instead of waiting until the payment is withdrawn, or until the next academic year is upon us,” concluded Deputy Byrne.

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