'I used to pay €1,000 a week in tax, now I live in a hostel as I can't even get rent allowance'
AT the height of the construction boom, electrician Michael Lynott could hardly keep up with his workload.
Now the 42-year-old finds himself living on the dole, unable to find work for two years and unable to see any light at the end of the tunnel.
"I've worked all my life. This is the first time I'm unemployed since I started working at 16. I'm in a rut now," he said.
"I'm 42 as well. It seems the older you get the harder it is to find a job."
Originally from Swords in north Dublin, Mr Lynott now lives in a hostel in the city centre as he was unable to keep his apartment after he was turned down for rent allowance.
"I used to be paying up to €1,000 a week in tax . . . now I can't even get rent allowance," he said.
He was unimpressed by yesterday's update on the Government's Action Plan for Jobs.
"The Government aren't doing anything. It's all talk."
Like many of his former colleagues, Michael at one point considered emigrating. However, that would mean leaving behind his 14-year-old daughter, who is preparing to do her Junior Cert next year.
Michael did a FAS course on installing solar panels and hoped this would be an "extra thing on the CV". But it hasn't led to work.
He admitted that being long-term unemployed was taking its toll on him as he struggled to stay positive about the future. However, he doesn't believe the Government is capable of tackling the enormous dole queues.
"I really can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. I've always been positive about it but it's got to me at this stage, it's getting really depressing."
Almost 20 years Michael's junior, construction worker Karl Redmond (23), from Blackrock in Dublin, is also languishing on the dole queue, frustrated by the lack of opportunities.
He has been in and out of work over the last few years, doing stints in construction, in factories and, for a while, as a postman.
He is now unemployed and believes his future lies overseas.
"I've been thinking about emigrating. I have four cousins in Australia and Canada. It's just trying to get the money together to go. I'm sick of this country," he said.
He queued for over an hour at the social welfare office on Kings Inn Street yesterday trying to sort out his dole after his payment was stopped.
"I had the chance to get a job, but they're telling me I had the wrong signing-on date so it was stopped," he explained.
He had the chance of work on a construction site, but needed his dole to pay for a site pass. It will now be next week at the earliest before he gets any money, leaving him unable to start the job.
He was equally scathing of the Government's record on job creation. "They say they're going to do something, but you never see it materialising. It's terrible."