Portlaoise Fianna Fáil election candidate David Ryan has accused the government of forcing young people to emigrate.
Speaking on Primetime, Mr Ryan said young people on the basic unemployment benefit cannot afford to attend job interviews.
“The drop to €100, it’s really giving people less and less options. I’m from Portlaoise, that’s €20 return from Dublin, all the jobs are in Dublin. That’s 20% of their weekly take on one interview, where does that leave them with regards food and housing”? he said.
Laois Ogra Fianna Fáil claim that the government is using emigration to cut youth unemployment numbers.
“The reduction in income is not an incentive for young people to find employment, but an impediment, making it too difficult for them to survive here, leaving them no option but to go abroad,” the group say.
They say the fall in the young population, from 16 percent to 12 percent, is due to emigration. Last September there were 1,588 young people in Laois under the age of 26 reliant on Social Welfare.
The government will spend €14m through the Youth Guarantee beginning in January, to tackle youth unemployment. However Laois Ogra say with only one case officer for every 800 unemployed, many will not get the required support.