The Government must do more to encourage young people to get back into the workforce as more and more people under 25 fall into long-term unemployment, according to Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection and Social Equality, Willie O’Dea TD.

Deputy O’Dea commented: “The Taoiseach has lauded the fact that a ‘Youth Guarantee’ policy has been agreed in Europe, which would provide quality education or a training place for every unemployed young person within four months.

“However, it is noteworthy that with over 7 million young people unemployed in the EU the budget announced by the EU amounts to a completely inadequate €122 per unemployed person for each year of the budget.

“Is the Taoiseach happy with this? Does he support a policy that promises so much but invests so little in the future of our young people?  Ireland currently hosts the Presidency of the EU and this is a perfect opportunity for the Taoiseach to make his voice heard and stand up for young people.

“While the Taoiseach may be able to point to the fact that this is a wider EU problem, the Government can start at home and make a concerted effort to tackle our youth unemployment crisis.

“The Taoiseach has talked big about tackling youth unemployment in Ireland but to date we have seen no discernible effort to bring real actions to the table.

“Fianna Fáil has published a National Strategy on Youth Unemployment, which among other things aims to train 100,000 young people with ICT skills. Clear and concise measures like these can help to kick-start the economy and prevent the mass emigration of our most important asset.

“Almost 1 in 3 young people in this country are unemployed and the Government appear heedless of the scale of the crisis.”