Lenihan leads Dail protest against cut in dole payment
The son of former finance minister Brian Lenihan was among a group of students protesting outside the Dail about Budget cuts which hit younger people.
Tom Lenihan – president of the Trinity College Dublin Students' Union – said cuts to the dole for people under 26, with 18- to 24-year-olds only getting €100 per week, would only encourage people to leave the country.
The protest, which drew a crowd of about 50, was organised by the 'We're Not Leaving' campaign, which includes organisations such as the Union of Students in Ireland.
Mr Lenihan said: "Simply put, a lot of young people who are faced with these cuts are thinking, 'I either have to leave this country or work for absolutely nothing'. The reason we're here is to show the Government we're not an easy target."
He also responded to Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore's comments that young people should not be stuck watching flatscreen TVs by saying: "I don't own a flatscreen TV and I don't know anyone my age who could afford one."
Mr Lenihan faces the prospect of losing his students' union role next month after he was caught cheating in a May exam.
Trinity College has voted in favour of staging a referendum on whether to impeach Mr Lenihan.
Meanwhile, at the protest, Joe O'Connor from the USI called the dole cuts "a completely unfair measure and we're calling for it to be reversed". He said the social welfare bill – which will give effect to the cuts – should pass through the Dail but called on senators to delay the legislation.