“The Government’s implementation of the European Youth Guarantee is a complete sellout on what agreed in Europe during the Irish Presidency of the EU”, Fianna Fáil’s MEP candidate for Midlands North West, Senator Thomas Byrne, has told a public meeting in Galway.
Senator Byrne was speaking at NUIG during election hustings, entitled ‘Promote the Vote’, organised by USI, Spunout and the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI).
Senator Byrne said the European Youth Guarantee had been intended to provide young people under the age of twenty-five with an offer of employment, further education or work-focussed training, at the latest, four months after leaving education or becoming unemployed. The EU’s Youth Employment Initiative has been allocated €6 billion in the EU budget for 2014-2020 but it is up to member states to manage it locally without delays or red tape. Member states are obliged to run effective schemes.
“However, the Government has allocated a miserly €14 million to implement the Guarantee here. That works out at only €223 for each person unemployed under the age of 25. To implement a proper scheme, the National Youth Council of Ireland estimates a minimum allocation of €273 million is required, or twenty times greater than what the Government is spending. No wonder Minister Joan Burton has admitted that they will be unable to provide training or employment for more than half of the people aged under twenty-five on the Live Register.
“In Ireland, this is not so much a Youth Guarantee as a Youth Con Job.
“This scandalous treatment of our young people underlines the need to elect strong, vigorous voices to the new European Parliament. When there is a three-way agreement on programmes like the Youth Guarantee between the Commission, member state Governments and the Parliament, the democratically elected Parliament has to be the watchdog that ensures that Ireland and other member states implement it fully.
“The Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development and the EU have warned that Ireland risks the emergence of a lost generation. Tackling youth unemployment must be a priority. We have to act urgently to avoid it becoming a long term and endemic problem. The root cause of unemployment is not people choosing to be unemployed – it is the lack of jobs and the absence of a credible and clear plan for employment.”