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Minister O Sullivan must drop unfair apprenticeship fees- Lynn Boylan MEP

19 January, 2016 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Lynn Boylan has written to Minister Jan O’ Sullivan calling on her to end the practice of charging apprenticeship fees, a measure introduced by her predecessor Ruairí Quinn. Ireland is the only country in Europe that has such fees.

Speaking today from Strasbourg, where a report was adopted by the parliament today including an amendment submitted by the Dublin based MEP specifically calling for the removal of such fees because they act as a barrier, Ms Boylan said:

“Fine Gael and Labour are very much in the wrong in charging these fees. I have today written to Jan O' Sullivan asking her to remove these fees.

“The European Commission has confirmed to me through a written question that the Irish Government could use the Youth Employment Initiative Funds to cover the €1.6m that is currently being charged in fees to apprentices. 

The Youth Employment Initiative has reserved €68 million for Ireland. The question must be asked why Minister O Sullivan is choosing to abandon our apprentices. ”

Ms. Boylan continued:

“The introduction by the Irish Government in the 2014 Budget of fees for apprentices has exacerbated youth unemployment in Ireland.

This measure saves the government the paltry amount of €1.6m annually but contradicts the Irish Government’s pledge to support the Youth Guarantee to ensure young people are in employment, education or training.

It discourages young people from entering apprenticeships in a state with 19.2% youth unemployment.

No other Member State imposes a tax on training.

It is time for Jan O’Sullivan to revoke this unfair fee and start supporting young people.”

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