Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has said that the Minister Varadkar’s attitude towards young people is worryingly dismissive.
Speaking following the Social Protection Committee meeting this morning Teachta Brady said:
“Today, at the Committee meeting I highlighted to the Minister the discriminatory nature of the cuts to Jobseekers based on their age. As it now stands someone who is between the ages of 18-24 receives €100 per week, at 25 years this rises to €144 before, one receives the full payment at 26 years of age of €188.
“Minister Varadkar didn’t seem at all concerned at the discriminatory aspect of these cuts. Instead, he told us of young people coming into Ireland with poor English and poor qualifications being able to find employment here within two weeks. He then questioned how any young person in Ireland could be in a situation whereby they could not find employment.
“I do not think this is the right attitude to have when it comes to young people and employment. I do not believe that young people out there are so overly satisfied on €100 per week that they would prefer it to employment. €100 per week is hardly a grand incentive not to work.
“While on the one hand, Minister Varadkar admitted that youth unemployment is far too high on the other, the Government are set to hand back over €30m in European Structural Funding (ESF) that was ear marked for youth employment initiatives.
“I also highlighted the recent link made by Department of Housing figures between those under 26 and homelessness showing nearly 700 young people in emergency accommodation in the month of June, up 20% from December. These figures show that young adults are now the fastest increasing age group in homelessness.
“Given Minister Varadkar’s seemingly lax attitude and his comments on the social welfare cuts to the under 26s, I would not hold out much hope on this being reversed any time soon.
“Sinn Féin has consistently said that we will restore the full Jobseekers payment for those under 26 years of age. Sinn Féin will stand up for our young people.”