Fianna Fáil Seanad Group Leader and Seanad Spokesperson on Social Protection, Senator Catherine Ardagh has said that despite Government’s triumph of employment figures, there are no measures in Budget 2019 to address the rate of long-term youth unemployment.

Earlier this week, the National Youth Council of Ireland highlighted the fact that 7,817 young people in Ireland remain unemployed and have been without a job for 12 months or more.

Responding to yesterday’s announcements in Social Protection as part of Budget 2019, the Crumlin based Senator said, “Long-term youth unemployment remains a problem. The highest number of young people in long-term unemployment is in Dublin where some with 1,697 people aged 26 and under have no job.

“There’s a common misconception that those in receipt of social welfare payments are not interested in working or would rather sponge off the State but that’s not the case. In fact the majority are actively trying to pursue employment opportunities but to no success.

“We need to counter this by establishing an apprenticeships programme to support young people with fewer opportunities or qualifications to secure a job.

“Despite Fianna Fáil securing a number of hard fought gains in social protection in this Budget, employment inequality in our society still persists. The harsh reality is that not everyone has felt the economic recovery.

“This Government is shouting from the side-lines, lauding about reaching record highs in employment but yet there are almost 8,000 young people facing the possibility of staying on social welfare for good.

“An Ireland for All means offering adequate support to every generation, every demographic to reach their full potential. Those in their twenties or even younger deserve the best possible start on the employment ladder. Without it, the cycle of dependency on social welfare has no hope to ever change

“This Budget posed an opportunity to fund an apprenticeships programme for young people that are long term unemployed. Sadly the Government has made no effort to encourage or quip these youths to go on and secure a future in employment,” she concluded.