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Failed and persecutory policies destroying the lives of young people – Boylan

20 April, 2017 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Speaking this morning, Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has said that the failure of EU projects such as the Youth Guarantee and the punitive measures of successive Irish Governments are destroying the lives of young people.

MEP Boylan said:

“The inability of the EU to successfully roll out projects such as the Youth Guarantee in conjunction with Member States combined with the persecutory polices of successive Irish Governments has left young people in an extremely precarious position. I would even go as far to say that the combination of failed and persecutory polices are destroying the lives of young people and irreparably damaging our collective future. 

“There is insurmountable evidence that, since the beginning of the financial crisis, young people have been indiscriminately attacked through punitive policy measures and left in an extremely marginalised position.

“A cursory glance at the difficulties they face reveals such marginalisation, young people are over twice as likely to be unemployed than the national average, they have suffered welfare discrimination because of their age, and they have emigrated in higher numbers than any other age group.

“The failure of successive governments to make a genuine effort to invest in Ireland’s young people is a catastrophic social disinvestment in the immediate term and for the future. The scars of this failure are already apparent in that there are less young people in employment and in the labour force now than when Fine Gael came to power in 2011.

“Added to this are the discriminatory practices of the State in relation to wages for new and younger entrants to professions such as nurses, teachers, guards or administrative workers. In general, young people are disproportionally more likely to be offered a non-standard form of employment, they are more likely to start out with temporary contracts and more likely to fear losing their jobs. 

“Resultantly, people under-34 in Ireland currently face the worst life prospects in generations. Since and during the recession young people were hit by the steepest drops in pay and employment, had less access to decent housing and better-paid jobs, and experienced deepening levels of poverty.

“The almost impossible position young people then find themselves in exasperated by the continued escalation of rent and house prices. The Central Statistics Office (CSO) have reported that property prices rose by 10.7 per cent in the 12 months to the end of February, but what working person, young or old, got even close to a 10 per cent pay increase.

“Such a situation is responsible for the housing and homelessness crisis. And now Focus Ireland is now warning of a deepening youth homelessness crisis as figures show the number of 18 to 24-year-olds who are homeless exploded by 78% in the past three years.

“A genuine effort needs to be immediately made to address these issues as they are out of control and destroying the lives of young people. There has to be the realisation by this government that current investment in young people will reap unquantifiable rewards in future years.” 

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