TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore has insisted that young people should not be permanently in front of flatscreen TVs as he defended the cuts to their dole.
It came after the opposition criticised Labour TD Eamonn Maloney for saying in the Irish Independent that parents in his constituency did not want their children at home watching a flat-screen television seven days a week.
Mr Gilmore insisted the reason for reducing the dole to €100 a week for those aged 22-24 was to encourage young people to take up education and training for jobs rather than staying on the dole.
"The place for any young person is not permanently in front of a flatscreen TV. It is in education and training," he said.
"It is now official Labour Party policy to force young people to emigrate," he said.
There were sharp exchanges between Mr Gilmore and Independent TD Clare Daly, who accused him of 'treachery' over his policies in Government.
Mr Gilmore said he never stooped to making an attack on anybody's character - but later followed up by saying that Ms Daly was the Irish equivalent of the Republican 'Tea Party' group in the USA.