This emerged as the latest data shows unemployment rates in Ireland have risen again due to further restrictions put in place to contain the spread of Covid-19.
According to the Central Statistics Office, those receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) stood at 20.2 per cent in October, an increase from under 15 per cent in September.
An increase in unemployment came after Level 5 restrictions were introduced to contain the spread of the virus, which saw more shops and businesses close down, putting thousands out of work.
So far, around 85,000 more people have claimed the PUP since the beginning of Level 5 restrictions.
There have been 330,000 Pandemic Unemployment Payment claimants altogether. According to an analysis by the policy officer of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Dr Laura Bambrick, one in four of those under the age of 25 getting the PUP payment are students.
She told the Independent that in total, 83,500 PUP claimants are under the age of 25 and that 25 per cent of those are full-time students.
In September, it was reported that senior ministers were debating whether third-level students can continue to claim the payment, something Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald criticised.
McDonald said the decision to stop providing third-level students with the PUP payment would be “entirely wrong.”
DCU student Kinga Piotrowska is currently receiving the PUP payment. She says it has helped her buy certain equipment she needs for college which she cannot access on campus due to Covid-19 restrictions. “If I didn’t have the money, I wouldn’t have been able to buy what I needed to for college so it definitely helps.”
“As well as that, if I didn’t get that payment, I would have to ask my mam for money for college stuff, which wouldn’t be ideal or fair on her,” she said.
Before, the pandemic unemployment rate was over four per cent. It has since surged to 28 per cent since April.
Andrew Webb, chief economist at consultancy firm Grant Thornton told the Independent that these figures paint a “grim picture” of the labour market.
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