Six youths in jeans and hoodies disturb Stormont proceedings

Business in the Northern Ireland Assembly was briefly interrupted by protesters.

Six youths in jeans and hoodies disturb Stormont proceedings

Business in the Northern Ireland Assembly was briefly interrupted by protesters.

Six young people in jeans and hoodies shouted out from the visitor’s gallery at Stormont.

They were placed in a corner of the Great Hall.

The students were protesting against cuts to the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA), which Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry has introduced. The scheme supports students staying in education after the age of 16.

Seven people were spoken to by police but afterwards one of them, Neil Moore, said he had not been cautioned.

“We thought it was important to take the fight to the Assembly,” he said.

“Four thousand, five hundred young people will miss out on this allowance.”

He represents a campaign group called Youth Fight for Jobs and Education which he said was made up of Belfast Metropolitan College students and schoolchildren.

They held a protest recently at Mr Farry’s department’s Belfast headquarters.

The EMA was introduced in 2004 by the Department of Employment and Learning and the Department of Education.

Mr Farry said the move was intended to encourage students from lower income backgrounds to stay in education.

Among the changes is the scrapping of weekly payments of between £10 (€11.70) and £20 (€23.40).

A single payment of £30 (€35) a week will be paid to students from households with an annual income of £20,500 (€24,000) or less with one dependent child or £22,500 (€26,300) with two or more dependants.

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