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Jobseekers Allowance

Three Labour senators targeted over dole cut but they'll support measure

Young people are being urged to lobby three Labour senators to vote against a provision of the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill in the Seanad next week but they will all support the measure.

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A POSTER BEING distributed online is urging young people to lobby three Labour senators to stop the Seanad passing dole cuts for young unemployed next week, but all three have said they will the vote for the bill.

The upper house debates the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill next week which includes a provision to cut jobseekers’ allowance to €100 for people under 25, a measure that has drawn considerable criticism in recent weeks.

Labour senators John Whelan, John Kelly and Denis Landy are pictured on the leaflet with people urged to send their job rejection letters to the senators.

Given the government’s slim majority in the Seanad their opposition could swing the vote. However all three Labour senators have confirmed they will be supporting the passage of the bill.

The poster was produced by the umbrella group ‘We’re Not Leaving!’ and is supported by the National Youth Council of Ireland and the Union of Students of Ireland.

USI president Joe O’Connor said that the three senators have been used to “personify the overall message” and said that he has been in contact with them and members of the Reform Alliance given the government’s slim majority in the Seanad.

But Labour’s Denis Landy told “I am very conscious of the difficulty that this issue has visited on younger people.

“But in the context of what Joan Burton was required to do, and in the round of all the other options, she made the best job of what she could.”

He acknowledged that it was a difficult cut but said that he would be challenging the government to ensure there are adequate training places for young people.

Whelan said that what Social Protection Minister Burton had done in reducing the cut to her overall budget from €440 million to €290 million was akin to the “miracle of the loaves and the fishes”.

“I will be supporting the government on the social welfare bill,” he said.

His colleague, John Kelly, pointed out that the cut does not affect current jobseekers in that their present rates will be maintained and it will only be for new entrants.

He also said that people cannot answer the question of what alternatives there are to the cuts announced in the social welfare budget.

O’Connor suggested that a comensurate increase in the banking levy would make up the €32 million Burton is looking to save through the measure announced as part of Budget 2014.

He intends to meet with all three Labour senators in the coming days and said he has also lobbied the Reform Alliance senators, Fidelma Healy-Eames and Paul Bradford, on the issue.

The Social Welfare and Pensions Bill is due for debate in the Seanad next week.

Column: The exploitation of young people has been cemented by this government

Read: Dáil passes Social Welfare Bill which implements Budget 2014 cuts

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