Sinn Féin Ard Fheis. Sean Bateson speaking on Youth Unemployment
Every young person in Ireland has something to offer their country. Each one is talented, gifted, educated, skilled, motivated, creative, and confident.
Such qualities and abilities cannot be allowed to be wasted in years of unemployment. Neither can we let such talents be exported abroad for the benefit of other economies and societies.
For generations, this island has been crippled by the effects of young people leaving our shores. The adverse affects of youth unemployment are clear to many people across Ireland who are faced with the reality of emigration.
Not only are young people faced with the grim decision of leaving behind friends and loved ones, but the detrimental effects to the economy are hampering recovery and growth, creating a vicious austerity cycle for years to come.
There are more than 5 and a half million young people across the EU not able to find work. Across the European Union, 22% of people between the ages of 15-24 are jobless, a figure that swells to as much as 50% in Greece and Spain.
Long-term youth unemployment reveals an even starker reality: over 30% of young people have been unemployed for more than 12 consecutive months.
Martina Anderson MEP has lobbied for the use of the European Social Fund to support programmes aimed at tackling this problem.
The global economic downturn has meant that young workers can often only access precarious, temporary jobs or traineeships, which offer little real prospect of career progression.
The EU ‘Youth Jobs guarantee’ aims to ensure that member states guarantee every young person under 25 a job, training or educational placement within a set number of months of becoming unemployed.
Sinn Féin as members of the GUE/NGL group urged the Commission and the European Council to dedicate a sufficiently financed specific fund to create a true ‘youth guarantee’ which would secure the future of Europe's youth by guaranteeing them real rights to qualified, adequately paid and stable employment and social security, the right to housing, and the establishment of an ‘autonomy allowance’ mechanism in the context of a European minimum wage.
Ireland has much to lose to ignore this youth unemployment and emigration crisis any longer. We need immediate action if we are serious about Ireland's future.
Sinn Féin Republican Youth believe that the future of this country is dependent on the utilisation of the skills and abilities young people have to offer and therefore we are calling for increased and continued Capital Investment Programmes that will put young people at the heart of building the economy and delivering on the vision of an Ireland of Equals.
Young people are the key to recovery. Areas such as green energy, bio foods, bio pharmacy, the IT sector and tourism play an essential role in the development of jobs initiatives for young people.
Sinn Féin Republican Youth are calling for recognition of the importance of investment in such areas in tacking the issues of youth unemployment and emigration. No longer can this country continue down the path of hardship and heartbreak as a result of youth unemployment and emigration. This is an issue that can and will be resolved.