Fianna Fáil Social Protection spokesperson Willie O’Dea has expressed his shock and alarm at figures which reveal that more than 85,000 young people are out of work and not in education. The numbers were released in response to a Dáil question.
According to the Central Statistics Office over 85,000 people between the ages of 16 and 25 are not working and are not in education, while more than 56,000 describe themselves as unemployed.
“These figures, which are for the fourth quarter of last year, are extremely worrying. They reveal that more than 16% of people between 16 and 25 aren’t in school, college or work. The corresponding figure for the UK and Northern Ireland is just over 14%. These figures are extremely worrying, and prove that the Government’s job creation plan is not working. What is happening with the long promised youth guarantee and all that it promised? The Government is instead choosing to penalise young people. Those unable to secure a job have seen their benefit payments slashed from €190 to €100 a week.
“Youth unemployment is a serious problem, which isn’t being adequately tackled. Not only are young people finding it almost impossible to secure jobs, thousands of others are being excluded from third level because of the Government’s decision to hike college fees over the past three years. Minister Ruairi Quinn has increased the registration fee by €250 every year since he took office thereby pricing young people out of the education system and forcing them onto the dole.
“Ireland’s unemployment rate is the fifth highest in the OECD, behind countries like Spain, Portugal and Italy. There are almost 379,000 signing on the Live Register, with more than 180,000 out of work for over a year. The Government continues to take credit for its Action Plan for Jobs, but these figures are evidence that the plan is not having an impact on youth or long term unemployment. Unemployed people need to hear less talk and more action from Ministers.
“The Government has already been criticised by the OECD and the European Commission for its inaction. Emigration remains very real, with over 200 people leaving this country every day, many of them young, educated, highly skilled professionals. Ministers Burton and Bruton need to be providing viable prospects to encourage these young people to stay. If they continue to defer the implementation of jobs and education opportunities a whole generation will be lost to overseas economies”.