Socialist Youth in Dublin spoke to Gemma Foster about being young and unemployed, her experiences signing on, searching for a job, her reaction and ideas for solving the youth unemployment crisis.
SY: What is it like going to sign on?
GF: Awful – I’ve waited in a queue for the best part of three hours to sign one bit of paper. They ask are you registered with Fas and for proof you are looking for work and once you hand them the paper that’s it. It’s entirely unproductive. They should invest time in talking people through their options – probably they’re not doing it because these options don’t exist!
SY: What are your experiences job searching?
GF: I have been looking for seven months with no joy. I was meant to go on a Fas course but due to lack of funding it was cancelled so I’m back to square one.
SY: How do you feel you are being treated as a young person who is unemployed?
GF: It is horrible. Growing up in the Celtic Tiger we were led to believe we would never have to go through this. However in my dole queue almost 50% of people are under 30. Like everyone else I feel let down. There was so much money during the boom where is it all gone? I am lucky in some respects as I have my stamps to get the full dole. Most of my friends who are also unemployed have been means-tested as they’re under 25 and live at home. Some are only on 50 euro a week and a few of them have children!
SY: What do you think we can or should do about it?
GF: Get out there raise the issue to everyone who will listen and organise to fight for our futures. People power is a lot stronger than you think, especially now when the government’s so discredited.