Local Fianna Fáil TD John Curran has said it is inexplicable that the Young People’s Facilities and Services Fund has seen a reduction of €4million over the past four years, considering there has never been a greater need to protect vulnerable young people living in a disadvantaged area or circumstance.

The Young People’s Facilities and Services Funding (YPFSF) was established to assist in the development of initiatives designed to support and protect young people through the development of youth facilities and services in disadvantaged areas where a significant drug problem exists or has the potential to develop.

Commenting on information received through Parliamentary Question this week Deputy Curran said, “Regrettably, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone took the opportunity to refer to the funding allocated to youth services in general; however the reduction in this fund has still not been restored to 2011 figures.

“The YPFSF focuses primarily on the 14 Local Drugs Task Force areas, 12 of which are in Dublin including the most local based which operates in Clondalkin. The sole objective this fund is to assist vulnerable or “at risk” young people living in disadvantaged areas.

“Family background, environmental circumstances, educational disadvantage, involvement in crime and/or drugs are just some of the factors that can determine a child’s vulnerability or chance at life and this Government must do more to protect these young people,” he added.

“It is so crucial that we do our utmost to attract marginalised all 10-21 year olds in our community ,into sport facilities and recreational activities to divert them away from the dangers of anti-social behaviour or drug abuse.

“Due to this cut in budget new applications for admittance to this funding scheme are not being accepted, and available resources are only directed at existing projects, despite more areas coming under the fund since the reduction in capital.

“By restoring funding to the youth services and facilities fund back to 2011 levels, there is greater possibility to reach more children and young people in need of support by offering increased services.

“I remain committed to seeking this funding to be restored and will be further questioning the Minister on the matter at the next available opportunity,” concluded Deputy Curran.