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Leeson Condemns ‘Youth Poverty and Emigration Charter’


Brian LeesonCathaoirleach éirígí, Brian Leeson, has slammed the Fine Gael/ Labour coalition for slashing social welfare payments of those under 26 years of age, labelling the 2014 budget a ‘youth poverty and emigration charter’.

Under the measures contained in the latest austerity budget new applicants for Jobseekers Allowance under the age of 26 will be entitled to a reduced weekly payment of just €100. This compares to the standard payment of €188 per week.

Speaking from Dublin Leeson said, “It is now clear that Fine Gael and Labour are rolling out a policy that is designed to result in youth poverty and enforced emigration. It is completely untenable to expect an adult in this state to live on €100 per week. The political establishment want young people to choose between poverty in Ireland and taking their chances in Australia, Britain, Canada or any country other than their own. Budget 2014 is nothing short of a youth poverty and emigration charter.”

Leeson continued, “Fine Gael and Labour intend to replace the dole queues with queues at the airports and ferry terminals. They want to sweep their own inaction on the unemployment crisis under the carpet and use forced emigration to reduce the numbers of young unemployed workers.

“Enda Kenny and Joan Burton’s attempts to justify the slashing of unemployment benefit as a legitimate ‘activation’ measure should be treated with complete contempt. There simply aren’t enough suitable jobs or educational places out there for all the young people that are on the dole. The measures contained in Budget 2014 have nothing to do with helping young people and everything to do with helping the business class Fine Gael and Labour have just given a green light to employers to further reduce the wages and working conditions of younger people.”

Leeson concluded, “Many of our young people are being asked to choose between accepting poverty in Ireland or the possibility of a better life overseas. We believe that there is a third option open to young people and that is to stay in Ireland and fight for a better future. Emigration has always served as a pressure release mechanism for Twenty-Six County governments, allowing them to repeatedly escape responsibility for their mismanagement and corruption.

“Every advance that has been won by the Irish working class over the last hundred years is now under attack. The political elite are using the current economic crisis to strip away workers conditions and hollow out the welfare state. I hope that enough young people in this generation will take the difficult decision to stand and fight for their rights in Ireland, instead of mutely boarding planes and boats for foreign shores. We are asking young people to join with éirígí in opposing the right-wing elite that control this state. The future is theirs, but they will have to fight for it.”


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