Local Fianna Fáil TD John Curran has said there has never been a greater need to protect vulnerable young people in Dublin Mid-West living in a disadvantaged area or circumstance. The Programme for Government contains a firm commitment to provide vulnerable young people in Ireland with a better chance in life however; the fund has seen a reduction of €4m over the past four years.

The Deputy raised the matter directly with the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone TD in Dáil Eireann.

He commented, “The sole objective of the Young People’s Facilities and Services Funding (YPFSF) is to develop initiatives to assist “at risk” young people through youth facilities and services in disadvantaged areas. Whether it is the Young People’s Facilities and Services Fund, other youth funding or drug task force funding that is used for preventative projects, they all aim to have the same outcomes.

“There are various factors including family background or exposure to problem drug use that can determine a child’s chance at life. This Government must do more to attract marginalised 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,” he added.

“Due to this cut in budget, all available resources are directed at existing projects. Despite more areas coming under the fund since the reduction in capital, no new applications for admittance to this funding scheme are being accepted.

“I do not want to see projects just being funded; I want projects that are delivering results on the ground and benefiting our community in Dublin Mid-West. We have a significant catch-up to achieve considering that for the past number of years there has been no additional funding allocated and no additional projects.

“As the next round of the budgetary process is entered into, I urge the Minister to ensure that an overview of the various streams of funding which provide preventative funding, particularly, although not exclusively, for at-risk young people in disadvantaged areas, will receive a level of priority.

“My hope is that a disproportionate amount of the funding that becomes available in Budget 2018 will be used in a targeted way.” concluded Deputy Curran.