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Investment in young people will reap future rewards – Reilly

3 June, 2015

Sinn Féin Senator Kathryn Reilly has called for further investment from the government in Ireland’s young people, noting that failure to do so will have adverse effects on Irish society in the future.

Senator Reilly said:

“The economic and financial crisis, followed by crippling austerity, has had a significant negative effect on the people of Ireland, but young people have been hit incredibly hard. Cuts to public services and cuts to wages and welfare payments have contributed to substantially increasing young people’s risk of social exclusion and falling into poverty.

“The lack of jobs and further lack of decent jobs combined to drive swathes of young people from all over Ireland overseas in search of employment and career progression which was denied to them at home.

“It is crucial that we move towards investing in our young people, in the creation of quality jobs in a long-term perspective.

“With current forecasts projecting that Ireland's elderly population will substantially increase over the next three decades and will eventually outnumber the young, it is crucial that as a nation we uphold our intergenerational social contract.

“However, this can only be achieved through investment in our young people. This government has systematically targeted young people through their ageist policies. Fine Gael and Labour have been responsible for the creation of a situation where there has been a drop of 62,500 people under the age of 34 in employment since they took office.

“Furthermore, the in employment decrease was also matched in the drop of the number of people in the labour force. There are now 151,600 fewer people under the age of 34 in the labour force in the state. The vast majority of these people have left Ireland.

“Failure for the government to make a genuine effort to invest in Ireland’s young people will be a social disinvestment immediately, and for the future.

“How young people feel and think matters to people of all ages, it is they who will shape Ireland’s economic, political, and social destiny for years to come.

“A genuine effort should be immediately made to encourage young entrepreneurs and provide easier access to credit, a focus on further funding emerging and potential employment sectors, and adequate investment in the public sector and state services, these are just some of the areas which Fine Gael and Labour should be looking at to address the current youth crisis in Ireland.

“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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