INOU Protests outside Dáil Eireann

19 Jan 2010

As TDs and Senators returned to Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann this afternoon, the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed welcomed them back with a protest. In particular the organisation was protesting against the cuts made to social welfare payments in the recent budget and further cuts that were made to the wages of participants on Community Employment and Jobs Initiative.

"The INOU is very conscious that many unemployed people are struggling to make ends meet and keep a roof over their heads," said John Stewart, Co-ordinator, with the INOU. "We are calling on the Government to guarantee that at the very least no further cuts will be made to social welfare payments," he continued.

The INOU is also calling for the urgent development and implementation of a Jobs Strategy. The rationale for significantly cutting social welfare payments to young people was to encourage them to undertake additional education and training programmes. However, without a clear Jobs Strategy how can any of us be sure that unemployed people of any age are going on courses that will improve their chances of securing future employment.

"The INOU is very concerned that we could see a return to economic growth but still have significant numbers of people unemployed," noted John. "That we could have job growth in some sectors but lack people with the right qualifications to access them," he concluded. An integral part of the development of a Jobs Strategy is the role education and training will play in its realisation, and in particular how unemployed people will gain access to courses with good potential outcomes.

For the first time in twelve years long-term unemployment is over 3%, this figure will continue to climb if the Government does not start to treat unemployment with the same level of seriousness with which it has treated the financial crisis - both banking and public.

The INOU is calling on the Government to start to invest in a planned and systematic way to address the unemployment crisis.