Sunday 23 October 2016

'Once you're over 50, people don't think you're any use'

Former Clerys woker Gerry Markey
Former Clerys woker Gerry Markey

Gerry Markey lost his job when Clerys closed this summer and feels there is nothing to help him get back to work in the Budget.

The 53-year-old said finding himself unemployed was "scary" after 34 years working in the Dublin department store.

"I don't qualify for the fuel allowance and I don't know if I'm entitled to the Christmas bonus, so there was really nothing for me in the Budget," he told the Herald.

"I'm still only getting €188 a week, and after I pay my mortgage I have barely anything left.

"I'm in dread of my life of what will happen if I'm still unemployed after nine months, because I don't know what I'll qualify for.

"I'm starting to get into a situation where it's a lottery of which bill will I pay first," he added.

Gerry is doing a course in computers and said it's very "upsetting" to meet people who have been out of work for a number of years.

"There's about 10 of us on the course and a few of them haven't worked for quite a while," he said.

"One of the scarier things is that once you're over the 50-year mark, people don't think you're of any use.

"There should be incentives for businesses to encourage them to take people on. The older you are the harder it is."

However, the Finglas native is determined to use whatever services are available to him to get back into the workforce.

"I'm doing a course to make sure I know all about using computers and to get rid of any bad habits," he said.

"Then I'm going to start another one about putting together a CV and applying for jobs.

"I'll use everything I can get my hands on to try and get back into the workplace. I'm not the kind of person who sits around," he added.

Gerry said he feels like he "doesn't come into the equation" in the new budget.

"It seems to be all about votes because we're coming up to an election," he said.

"They didn't even increase minimum wage by 10pc - working full-time on €9.15 an hour is not a living wage."

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