Sinn Féin candidate for Ireland South Liadh Ní Riada has said that a real youth guarantee of €400 million is needed to provide a future for young people and to tackle the ravages of youth unemployment and emigration.
Ní Riada was speaking following the EU Election debate organised by the National Youth Council of Ireland in conjunction with Spunout and the USI.
“The youth unemployment crisis in Ireland is not being taken seriously by the Government or the EU. It is being treated with tokenism in terms of the funding being committed by the EU for states to implement their youth guarantee schemes.
“The total comes to €6.5 billion of which Ireland would only get €204 million over the course of four years. This is just over half the funding which Sinn Féin believes is needed to fund a youth guarantee that adequately addresses the nature of the crisis.
“The International Labour Organisation has reported that an effective EU youth guarantee programme should be funded to the tune of €21 billion or 0.5% of Eurozone spending.
“The ILO also estimated that such a guarantee, like the one being implemented in Sweden, costs roughly €6,600 per participant.
“There are 65,000 young people unemployed in this state. A youth guarantee that would have long term benefits to Ireland would need funding of €400 million.
“A real youth guarantee would be used to focus on connecting young people with placements that match their education and experience. It would prevent our young people from being exposed to underpaid labour.
“This needs to happen now. The rollout of the poorly funded, badly organised Irish Youth Guarantee, for which this Government has responsibility, is to be staggered and will not be ready until the 2015 if we are lucky.
“Speaking to young people, from all over Munster and southern Leinster, in University College Cork last night many expressed the view that they well have emigrated by then. It will be a case of too little and too late.
“The young people I spoke with were understandably angry and frustrated. It is not good enough.
“It says a lot when the powers-that-be can pump €65 billion into toxic banks but the idea of investing €400 million in our young people is something that seems repugnant to them.”