Policy changes ‘forcing young people to emigrate’

RECENT government actions to tackle the recession are encouraging young people to emigrate rather than stay in Ireland.

According to the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI), young people are bearing the brunt of recent changes to government policy and proposals outlined in the report of An Bord Snip Nua.

Sine 2007, the numbers of young people unemployed under the age of 25 has soared by a staggering 173% with Ireland having the second highest level of unemployment among young men (18-24) in Western Europe.

Director at the NYCI Mary Cunningham said although the group recognises the economic crisis in Ireland and abroad, the Government appeared to be doing very little to support and retain young people in the country.

“When it comes to young people, the overall government policy appears designed to encourage emigration rather than regeneration.”

“We need to realise that young people will respond if they are inspired and supported and that they can be key drivers of economic and social renewal,” she said.

The NYCI of Ireland pointed to a number of recommendations from government commissioned reports that have singled out young people.

These include:

* The halving of the jobseekers’ allowance for those 18-19 years (from €204 to €100).

* A proposal in the McCarthy report to cut jobseekers’ allowance for those aged 20-24 years by 25% (from €204 to €150).

* Proposal to cut the minimum wage (previous studies show that 66% of those on the minimum wage are under 25).

* Funding to youth services cut by 10%.

* Proposal to introduce third level fees/student loans.

* Failure to curb interest rate increases by taxpayer supported banks.

* Indications from Government that the future of mortgage relief for first-time buyers is in doubt.

* Proposal to introduce a night time curfew on young drivers.

Ms Cunningham said the cuts and proposals had left young people angry and frustrated.

“The above mentioned cuts and regressive proposals will only serve to further isolate and hinder young people in terms of accessing education and gaining employment and will do little to stimulate our economy or revive our shattered confidence.

“The Government needs to provide leadership, direction and take positive and concrete action. The needs of our young people should be a priority as they hold the key to the future revival of our country,” she said.


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