“We’re Not Cutting Their Benefits”



Not so fast.

Eamon Gilmore went on RTE R1’s  Morning Ireland earlier to explain [to presenter Gavin Jennings} the budget cuts stuff that’s happened to benefits to people under 26.

Caution: It gets a bit ORWELLIAN.

Gavin Jennings: “How will cutting a young person’s dole payment incentivise them into work?”

Eamon Gilmore: “It’s not about incentivising them into work. This government believes that young people should be at work, in education or in training. And that is why we have committed to the Youth Guarantee, this is the idea that no young person under the age of 25 should be out of work or out of education or training for more than four months.”

Jennings: “But then why are you cutting their benefits?”

Eamon Gilmore: “We’re not cutting their benefits.”

Jennings: “But you are. From 188 to 144 or 144 to 100 Euros.”

Gilmore: “Those payments are already in place. What we are doing is extending the age at which those payments will apply.”

Jennings: “You’re cutting the payments to people between 22 and 25 this morning. “Just to be clear.

Gilmore: “Well to be clear about it, what this Government is about is ensuring that young people have a job or have education or training. We do not believe, let’s be very clear about it, this government does not believe that somebody should go on to an employment payment at 18 and still be on it continuously at the age of 25 -26.”

Jennings: “Are you saying it is their fault that they’re not taking up places in jobs and you’re going to punish them for it?”

Gilmore: It’s not their fault. It is the Government’s responsibility to ensure that employment and education and training is provided

Jennings: “But you’re punishing them?”

Gilmore: “And that is why in this Budget we have provided for an additional 500 million Euros package to create employment and generate the jobs into which these young people go. But we also know that for young people to take up employment opportunities they have to have the appropriate education and training and that is why too this budget has 740 million Euros in it for the further education and training sector and why we have in addition provided for 14 million additional Euros for the Youth Guarantee Project for which there is matching European funding.”

Listen here

(Photocall Ireland)

80 thoughts on ““We’re Not Cutting Their Benefits”

  1. diddy

    they have to cut somewhere.. a young fella should be in work or training for their dole.. no good rotting away at home

    1. Ernie Ball

      No, they don’t have to cut this. Consider this: we’ve had 7 austerity budgets now. In that time, the wealthy (of which there are many in this country) have been virtually untouched while the vulnerable have been hammered. This is more of the same: cutting jobseeker’s allowance for the young in order to give them an extra disincentive to being unable to find work.

      1. Pablo

        You say the ‘wealthy’ have been untouched as if it requires no further detail to back the statement up. The changes to income tax rates have been progressive and a property tax has been introduced (and about which you no doubt complained) so I don’t believe your correct.

      2. fosull

        Patent nonsense to say the wealthy have been untouched by 7 austerity budgets – before making such sweeping (false statements), do yourself the favour of researching matters and seeing where the cuts have fallen. They most certainly haven’t fallen exclusively on “the vulnerable”.

        1. Mickage


          The cuts which effect the wealthy have far less impact on their lives than cuts on people who live week to week.

          Increase in DIRT oh boo hoo
          Second home tax oh boo hoo
          Increase in Capital Gains Tax oh boo too

          It’s well known that the wealthy in Ireland spend money avoiding tax and often pay nothing at all because they have the resources to pay accountants and solicitors to reduce their tax bills as much as possible.

          Regular PAYE workers are imprisoned in a tax system which they cannot manipulate because it’s taken at source.

          It’s a very deliberate and unfair tax apartheid.

    2. Daisy Chainsaw

      That extra €50 for 18 months as an “intern” for De Chipper or De Deli Counter should set them up for life.

    3. Sam

      And how many jobs are there? I have one, but I look around, and I see a lot of people chasing a much smaller number of jobs.
      The huge increase in the dole queues, is because the government allowed bubble to develop and then deflated the economy to a reckless degree in order to pay off speculators. Those dole queues would be even longer if the scourge of mass youth emigration hadn’t returned.

      So if you want to cut payments to people who sit on their ass with an air of entitlement, how many comments, letters, or petitions signatures have you made in relation to the unsecured bondholders in the zombie, non pillar banks? Do you even know how much we paid those guys? Or what it’s costing us to pay them (we’re borrowing from bondholders at interest to pay the bondholders for what Anglo owed them).

    4. jungleman

      You see this is where the Government are trying to confuse the matter. There is quite a difference between a “young fella”, which implies a kid just out of school, and a college graduate at the age of 23 or 24 who has taken on debt from college and simply cannot get a job in their field unless it is on JobBridge in which case they cannot afford to do such a job (because their expenditure will be more than their income). Would the government rather that such graduates simply forget about their qualification, or their chosen career path, and take up an unskilled job? That certainly seems to be the case.

  2. The-bag

    Of course there should be an incentive to get off the dole, every able bodied person who can work should work. If they refuse to take up employment cut their dole off completely or have a mandatory ‘community service’ scheme.

        1. ANUSIA

          And while the young people of Ireland are cleaning your streets and trimming your hedges for less than minimum wage, when do you envisage they should find the time to look for a job that isn’t slave labour? You have a very blinkered view The-Bag

          1. The-bag

            I think my view is quite reasonable, your take on it is blinkered. If a person is claiming benefits while looking for a job a couple of hours a few times a week doing something beneficial to the community they live in is a good deal for everybody. If I were to find myself in the position of being unemployed I would be happy to do this.

    1. Gearóid

      The unemployment rate was just over four percent in 2005. People did not simply get lazy in the eight years since then.

    2. Sam

      Who is arguing that they should sit and home and scratch? How many of them do you think are doing that? Joan Burton’s figures are crap. the €600m ‘fraud’ figure is actually the projected saving by having fraud controls in place. The Depts own estimate of fraud is €24m, which, while still too high, is only 4% of the figure that gets bandied about in headlines.

      I know a lot of people on the dole. Very few of them are making a lifestyle out of it, with dutch gold and pizza partially obscuring the view of Jeremy Kyle.
      Most of them are scraping together money to keep the house going, get the shoes fixed for when they’re going job hunting.
      You tell someone who is literally counting copper coins to see if they can get their shoes reheeled, that they need a ‘cut’ to incentivise them into the job market…. I bet you wouldn’t say it within slapping distance.

      Funny how for poor people to work they need lower income meanwhile, if we lowered the income of bankers it would be a ,strong>disincentive…

      1. The-bag

        Your anecdata is nearly exactly the opposite of my experience. I recently moved from a fairly depressed part of the North Inner City and most of the people in my neighbourhood were dole ‘lifers’. Not only that, they were proud of it. Absolutely no desire to contribute to society and quite comfortable living on handouts.
        Of course there are examples of people who just want to work but the system as it is is broken and widely abused.

        1. Sam

          Well, if the lifer’s are the problem, target the lifers. No need to cut everyone’s rate. Simply make continued social welfare payments dependent on submitting proof every few months that they’ve applied for work of training.
          Anyone who is sitting on their backside watching Jeremy Kyle all day, like they’re looking into a mirror, get hauled in for a little chat.
          And those people who are actively seeking work, get the rate that they are entitled to be on, having paid taxes and PRSI contributions.

          1. MensRea

            Dole ‘lifers’ are, in many cases, unemployable. They often lack basic educational training and have little if any work experience. No one will employ them and they are not equipped to learn skills necessary for todays market. If their welfare continues to be cut some of them will steal in order to afford the things they want and need. The government can’t starve them into nonexistence.

          2. The-bag

            Nobody is unemployable, barring mental or physical health issues, unless they make themselves that way. To excuse it away like that adds to the problem and sense of entitlement.

          3. Sam

            @MensRea, that’s why the Govt shouldn’t be cutting support to the community projects that provide support for things like adult education, literacy etc. I don’t agree that people should be starved into the grave, but neither should they be written off as no-hopers.

        1. Sam

          Certainly the ones doing risk management and compliance… the ones who are paid to produce reports showing over reliance on particular sectors, and liquidity risks, and anything else that shows they are over-extending and under-diversifying the loan books.

          Oh, and those lovely prudence inspectors (as Pat Neary once was), who did about 25% of the inspections that they were supposed to do. Yes, I think they could have worked harder.

          Although, it’s probably not an issue of working harder, as opposed to standing up to an internal culture of bullying from the g-bags with the mentality of ‘sure it’ll be grand we’re playing with the big boys, so it’s big boys rules’. such as what we heard from the Anglo Tapes, which sounded like the type of shite I used to hear of a Friday evening in the Harbourmaster pub in the IFSC back in the day. (No, I wasn’t working in the pub) .

        2. MensRea

          The Bag – I would argue that mental health issues diagnosed or otherwise are a significant factor amont the very long term unemployed void of physical disablement. I also have my doubts that they would perform very well at interview stage of their employment search.
          The system has failed many of them, they are now incapable of earning a living outside of welfare. No company or organisation will ever employ them. I am not excusing away the issue, this is a real problem. Sense of entitlement or not, sometimes these guys are just left behind.

          1. Sam

            And that’s why there are people in (poorly funded) community based projects around the country who try to build confidence and skills for the long term unemployed.
            The money spent on youth intervention, reducing school drop outs, adult literacy and other education programmes is easy to measure in their budgets, (and easy to cut.)
            The savings brought about by reducing the numbers who go on the dole for life, with no leaving cert is a bit trickier to quantify, but the govt does have access to the numbers who use those services and what results are reported.


    “..for young people to take up employment opportunities they have to have the appropriate education and training ” But didn’t the college registration fee go up by €250 and the grant is still pretty difficult to get and not enough to cover living costs and study expenses and the student bust ticket which goes up in price every year.

    1. Sam

      It’s like this, see if you’re 21 and on the dole, and can’t afford the college fees, you’re unlikely to be able to afford a law suit against the government.

  4. Mags

    Decisions are made by those who show up. Under 25s don’t vote in significant numbers so they get shafted.

  5. Leigh

    Does anything this right wing crowd spew surprise anyone anymore?

    Not me, that’s for sure.

    I just hope the next batch of Irish politicos remember this period (last 30 years at least) in our history and get their act together. (Not very likely but as a Liverpool / Ireland / Shelbourne supporter I am naturally a very optimistic person)..

    1. Pablo

      Most of these cuts are required to continue to be able to fund the day to costs of the state, which ballooned under partnership/ benchmarking so it’s hardly a right wing agenda.

      1. Sam

        Yeah, that 64 billion to Anglo bondholders, that was only the ha’penny compared to benchmarking…

        Remind me again, what the trigger point in the benchmarking was… cos some people think that it wasn’t our pay, but the inability of developers to pay their debts that threw the spanners in the works… but that’s just coincidental, cos there must have been some simuloutaneous debt bomb that went off in the public benchmarking system that somehow threw the private financial sector into crisis… and I’m sure you’ll point it out for us.

        1. Rob_G

          The public sector wage-bill is a lot larger than the cost of servicing the bail-out.

          Benchmarking gave guaranteed salary increases to public servants – the very bad ones, as well as the many very good ones – just for turning up to work every week.

          Taking a pay cut isn’t any fun, but responding “But the bankers!” to every suggestion of a cut isn’t going to get the country anywhere very fast

          1. Sam

            The public service bill…. how much of it exactly is excessive? Certainly not 50%? You can’t say that we don’t need a public service, and that we don’t get something from it.

            The bailout of bondholders in private investment banks like Anglo… how much of that was necessary? How many hospital wards, schools, or fire stations would have shut down if Anglo simply went bankrupt without a bailout?

            No, I don’t blame all our woes on the ‘bankers’, there are multiple factors, some due to poor management, but the ones that are criminally negligent (or worse collusion and extortion) are the ones that stick in my craw the most.
            The last thing anyone need when trying to make things meet is to pay off someone else’s debts on top of their own bills.

            We could have reduced our public spending to meet the reduced incomes, without also taking it up the jacksie for the Hedge Fund managers.
            The deficits we then encountered were infact deepened by the depressed economy, because the gap between revenue and expenditure now had to include bondholder payments as extra expenditure.
            Do you not accept that the deflationary spiral was magnified by lumping on these massive repayments?

          2. Rob_G


            The decision to bail out Anglo was an extremely poor decision. However, the Govt. made it, and now the country has to fulfil its obligations. It’s unfair, but the only alternative is to default (and look where that got Iceland).

            Public servants had to take a lot of cuts, this is true, but they still have jobs, and index-linked pensions* and fair entitlements to things like maternity leave/study leave, to which can we ascribe an economic value.

            *I know that this does not apply to everyone

          3. Sam

            The decision to bail out Anglo was an extremely poor decision.

            You make it sound like they chose the wrong colour to paint the bathroom. This was not an error in judgement. This was backroom deals, which nobody involved wants to explain to the public. The benefactors have a lot of money and influence and the victims are on their knees. If you think this was weighed up on merit rather than power, I would question your trust in politicians.

            However, the Govt. made it, and now the country has to fulfil its obligations.

            Our obligations? Are you familiar with the term ‘odious debt’?
            I accept that we have to fund the health system and the schools etc, I do not accept that we have to repay a debt, done in the shadows, for which there was no public interest, nor oversight, but huge public burden.
            And unlike Iceland we are in a monetary union. Any malicious attack by our speculators on our economy would have repercussions across the entire eurozone.
            Teaching us a lesson would hurt us, but also devalue their euro denominated investments in France, Germany, Spain, Italy etc.
            You think someone’s going to throw a match at your petrol soaked feet, when the same petrol goes up to their crotch?

            These guys are greedy, not stupid.

          4. Rob_G


            Govts need to borrow money all the time, in good times and bad. If the govt reneged on the Anglo debt in the morning, no one would lend us any money anymore. Which means that Ireland the Govt wouldn’t be able to pay anything – social welfare, the salaries of doctors, teachers, nurses, etc.

            I don’t agree with bailing out Anglo any more than you do, but there isn’t really anything that can be done about it now.

          5. Sam

            Govts need to borrow money all the time, in good times and bad.
            Yes, I managed to notice that while getting my degree and working in investment banking. Thanks for the reminder though.

            If the govt reneged on the Anglo debt in the morning, no one would lend us any money anymore.

            That’s almost an article of faith, however it’s not infallible. What do you think the bond markets actually said about Anglo debt?
            Lets’ hear from Ciarán O’Hagan, head of research for Societe Generale in Paris (who happened to be bondholders in Anglo.)

            “O’Hagan also criticised the Irish government for socialising the debts of the banks. He said that allowing private sector default would not have undermined Ireland or other European sovereigns, ‘‘though officials assured us time and again that it would”

            Would you care to point out where he is wrong, bearing in mind he is their head of research on their bond desk?

          6. Rob_G

            Again, I’m not suggesting that the reasoning behind the bail-out was sound, far from it; but once the Govt had guaranteed the deposits, it had to honour it.

            Even discounting the bailout payments, Ireland’s current expenditure exceeds it’s revenue; the Govt no longer has enough tax money to pay public sector salaries.

          7. sam

            Not true. Guarantees are based on being provided with truthful information. Once it is obvious that the guarantee is based on fraud, it is null and void. The mantra that we had no choice is incorrect, and designed to cover up for the fact that through a mixture of incompetence and collusion, someone decided that those bondholders were getting paid, whether they were legally entitled to or not.

      2. Daisy Chainsaw

        If that’s the case, I’d like the 25% that’s been taken from my benchmarked wages since 2008 back please because taking it from me hasn’t helped the unemployed or the economy… And it certainly hasn’t helped me!

  6. Sgt. Bilko

    Jennings: “But then why are you cutting their benefits?”

    Eamon Gilmore: “We’re not cutting their benefits.”

    Jennings: “But you are. From 188 to 144 or 144 to 100 Euros.”

    Gilmore: “Those payments are already in place. What we are doing is extending the age at which those payments will apply.”

    FFS. I listened to this earlier, it was infuriating. “There is no presence of the American columns in the city of Baghdad at all. We besieged them and we killed most of them.”

  7. Del McG

    Can we all just agree that there is one thing that unites all the people of this land, regardless of political affiliation, and that is the knowledge that Eamon Gilmore is a bollix who is hated by all?

  8. Sido

    Eamo should watch the BBC News. Dave Cameron has written the script for him. “Young people should be Earnin’ or Learnin'”

    1. justanotherstatistic

      Yes and he’s completely ignoring the fact that most of our under 25s are highly educated graduates. A deficit of ‘training’ isn’t the problem

      1. Sido

        You’ll be trying to suggest Jobridge isn’t really about training our wonderful young people next.

        1. justanotherstatistic

          Haha – well I know the one thing that would have set me up after I graduated would have been 18 months of learning how to create sandwiches for a whopping 50 euro extra a week…shame I moved to the UK for a related profession to my degree really…

  9. Lorcan Nagle

    I can’t even begin to describe my rage at this. Labour have consistently betrayed everything they claimed to stand for over the course of this coalition, and now we get this doublespeak?

    1. Spaghetti Hoop

      But politics is, in essence , doublespeak…..electioneering vs governing and how ideologies and manifestos are upturned and reversed when in power.

  10. Nigel

    I have to wonder what sort of gold-plated, heavily scented, halleluia-chorus-singing favour Gilmore thinks he’s going to get for going on the national airwaves and defending these, because the straw, it surely gets no shorter.

    1. Pedanto

      It’s possible he doesn’t agree with the policy, but accepts it as the price of a coalition government. Cabinet responsibility means doing his bit to defend it.

      1. Nigel

        Oh, I suppose it’s part of the shit you eat when you’re a post-collapse junior government partner, but being the point-man on this policy strikes me as being uniquely thankless and you’d want to get something out of it. Joan Bruton was defending the indefensible on the radio today as well, both this AND the cuts to old folks, and while it is her department, it seems to be a Labour thing to have to tell us all how great these cuts are really, no honestly, you won’t even notice them.

    2. Mickage

      Oh he’ll get paid off on some board of directors somewhere for championing the reduction in government spending and creating a low wage economy for big business to exploit.

    3. Frilly Keane

      Sur he just had to retire

      Or better again. Get sacked by Edna,and collect dissapointment money before he retires on a Ministerial

  11. scottser

    can we not just invade somewhere with loads of cash and be done with it? i’m looking at you, switzerland..

  12. Poordessie

    I love when politicians say “let’s be clear about this”. NO…….just continue to be unclear…..going forward….incentivising…..sustainability. Bloody ambiguistinisationaryists.

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