Caped crusaders protest over lack of opportunities
STUDENTS staged a noisy protest yesterday outside the Cork office of the Enterprise Minister to highlight the lack of jobs for new graduates.
Recent figures from the Central Statistics Office show almost 92,000 people under the age of 25 are unemployed.
The Union of Students of Ireland (USI) said more and more skilled graduates were emigrating and many would never return. Yesterday, 20 students gathered outside the Ballincollig office of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation Minister Batt O'Keeffe just before 10am. The minister was not in his office.
The students dressed up as teachers and doctors, claiming that playing fancy dress was their only option as jobs were not plentiful in any of the professions. A handful of students dressed up as DC Comics character Robin, in a nod to Mr O'Keeffe's nickname Batman.
USI president Gary Redmond said the Government had invested millions in an attempt to create a workforce that was renowned across the globe for its expertise and innovation. He said it could only be seen as ludicrous to deny our graduates any opportunity to repay that investment.
"There are almost 100,000 unemployed graduates in Ireland. If these people are forced to emigrate they are going to set up families, buy houses and not come back.
A spokeswoman for the minister said Mr O'Keeffe last month secured increased investment for job-creation initiatives under the six-year capital review plan. "The Government is investing almost €1.2bn to create more than 270,000 jobs up to 2016. A further 30,000 will be supported annually under the capital infrastructure programme."