Pro-hunting supporters demonstrate in Waterford

THE GREEN party has voted in favour of cutting employer PRSI for all those hired under the age of 26, at the party's convention in Waterford.

Speaking in favour of the motion, new Senator Niall O'Brolcháin said blockages that stop young people gaining employment need to be removed.

The Greens, he said, is a party of youth and innovation and must strive not to force Ireland's young people to emigrate. O'Brolcháin added that young people are finding it difficult to get work experience after they finish third level so the PRSI cut would help them.

The lower rate would remain in place until the employee has reached the age of 26.

New junior minister Mary White yesterday endorsed Brian Cowen's reconfiguration of government depart­ments. She welcomed the transfer of equality policy from the Department of Justice to the new De-partment of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs.

A Green party bugbear for the last few years, the party had lobbied for the move and the new junior Minister for Equality and Integration, she said. "The move will allow equality to be given the kind of focus it deserves within government."

The newly appointed junior Minister for Sustainability, Ciaran Cuffe, described how he is "passionate" about challenges posed by his new responsibilities.

"Sometimes it is the little things that make the difference. I want to make it easier for children to walk to school by themselves. I want a public transport smart card that works on buses, trains and trams. I want to promote Irish farms that produce some of the best food in the world," he said.

The party also voted in favour of introducing legislation to ban corporate donations by early next year.

Concerns that Dublin Mid-West TD Paul Gogarty may be aggrieved, as he is the only one of the party's six TDs not to have enjoyed a senior or junior ministry, were also put to bed yesterday. He said he was not disappointed by the reshuffle and was proud to have reversed education cuts.