With youth unemployment at over 41 per cent, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade, Employment, and Workers’ Rights Louise O’Reilly has called on the government to invest in young people and ensure that they are not again sacrificed on the altar of economic recovery, as was the case a decade ago.
Teachta O’Reilly: “With Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures showing youth unemployment at over 41 per cent, there needs to be targeted measures to help get young people into employment, education, training, or help foster entrepreneurship.
“The pandemic has laid bare the low wage and precarious work that many young people were engaged in, and any recovery must ensure that they have access to decent jobs.
“Over a decade ago, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party, and then Fine Gael and the Labour Party, threw young people under the bus throughout the financial crash and subsequent austerity years.
“Exploitative programmes like Job Bridge and Gateway were the order of the day, social welfare rates were slashed as a means of pushing young people towards taking the boat and the airplane, and emigration was rife in order to escape austerity and a lack of opportunity.
“Many of the young were children during the financial crash and austerity years, they saw homes repossessed, parents lose their jobs, businesses go under, older siblings emigrate, and our towns and villages go silent.
“We need a whole of society approach if we are to recover economically, all the while living with Covid-19 – this means that we cannot have a repeat of the past where young people are sacrificed.
“The recovery has to include decent jobs, education and training opportunities, meaningful apprenticeships, and support for young entrepreneurs.”