Senator Kathryn Reilly has highlighted her dismay at a review released today by Social Justice Ireland (SJI) which has outlined that government policies are further excluding vulnerable people who are already clinging to the margins of society.
Speaking from Strasbourg, where she is attending the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Senator Reilly stated:
“It is always disappointing when a review from an organisation like SJI highlights in facts and figures what we already know to be true. It is disgraceful that government policies which are now further contributing to the exclusion of vulnerable people on the margins of their society.
“We hear constant government rhetoric about recovery and the creation of an Ireland for which our emigrants can return, however, the reality is staunchly different. The review has highlighted that Ireland’s employment rate is nine percentage points lower than the Europe 2020 Strategy target. Furthermore, almost one in four young people are unemployed, and while the government will point out that this is slightly down, SJI rightly point out that this figure would be even higher but for the fact that emigration has been a constant part of Irish life.
“The review raises two critical concerns around youth emigration and unemployment for Ireland’s long-term future. It outlined that such high emigration levels amount to a “brain drain” and this will have long-term negative impacts for Ireland in terms of loss of highly skilled and educated young people from the labour market.
“Coupled with this we have the implications for unemployed young people who remain at home. Their experience of unemployment coupled with an inability to access any work, training or education, can leave ‘a scaring effect’ on young people. This has the result of increasing the challenges associated with getting these people active in the labour market at any stage in the future and may have long-term effects on their lives.
“The fact that the latest data on the number of young people aged 18-24 years in Ireland who are not in education, employment or training is 20.5 per cent compared with and EU28 average of 17 per cent is disturbing. In fact, in 2013 only Romania, Spain, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece and Italy were worse. What is even more worrying about Ireland’s 20.5 percent was that it would be much higher only for the extraordinarily high level of emigration among young people.”