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Election '07 must prioritise youth issues - Ógra Shinn Féin

13 May, 2007

Speaking at the launch of Sinn Féin's youth manifesto this morning Ógra Shinn Féin national organiser Barry McColgan said suicide prevention, road safety, Irish Unity and tackling homelessness among young people are key priorities for Ógra Shinn Féin. McColgan went on to say that young people and the issues facing them must be prioritised in election 2007. Following the election Ógra Shinn Féin will be launching a major national road safety campaign aimed at young people.

He said, "Young people and the issues affecting them must be prioritised in this election. Young people are at the very core of our society and ultimately they are the future of our nation.

"The extraordinarily high levels of suicide, among our young people is a national crisis which Ógra Shinn Féin has prioritised and will continue to prioritise as we move forward. Suicide is now the most frequent cause of death among young people throughout the country. Ógra Shinn Féin is calling for an all-Ireland strategy for suicide prevention along with the provision of much needed youth facilities and services, including mental health services, throughout the country. The issue of suicide has not received the attention it warrants from the current Minister for Health Mary Harney and
we believe that it is imperative that this issue is recognised as a national crisis in order for it to be dealt with in the appropriate manner.

"We in Ógra Shinn Féin do not believe Government focus should be on targetting or criminalising young people with regressive measure such as ASBOs. Rather, we should be looking for the proper implementation of the Children's Act to tackle low level crime while prioritising the provision of much needed youth facilities and services throughout the country. ASBOs have failed in other jurisdictions and are destined to fail here in Ireland and Ógra Shinn Féin is committed to opposing them while putting forward
credible alternatives.

"While Sinn Féin is committed to ending homelessness in Ireland by 2010, we in Ógra Shinn Féin are quite concerned at the number of children and young people on our streets. We are calling on the Government bring forward a national strategy for ending homelessness and, in the interim period, under-utilised dwellings should be identified and made available as temporary accommodation for those sleeping rough.

"In our manifesto for election 2007 we once again re-commit ourselves to the achievement of our ultimate goal of the re-unification of Ireland and the establishment of a united, free, independent Ireland of equals where all of the children, and the youth of the nation, are cherished equally." ENDS

Key youth proposals

  • As we approach the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising, step up the campaign for Irish re-unification.
  • Reduce the voting age to 16 and hold all future elections at the weekend.
  • Develop an all-Ireland strategy for suicide prevention.
  • Make road safety a national priority - including driver training and road safety, programmes in the school curriculum and make driver training compulsory,
  • Establish a state run insurance company to ensure the exploitation of motorists of all ages is ended.
  • Introduce legislation to prevent the auctioning off of documents and artefacts of historic significance.
  • Oppose the war in Iraq and ban all US military aircraft from Irish airspace.
  • Reduce the age of consent
  • Double the grant at third level to reflect the true cost of living
  • Increase the minimum wage to 60% of average industrial wage (approx €9.50) and keep them out of tax net.
  • Increase state funding to community based arts, sports and recreational facilities for young people.
  • Eliminate street homelessness by 2010.
  • Abolish ASBOs.

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