More than one in four under-25s unemployed in Westmeath

After it was revealed this week that 2,000 under-25s in Westmeath were unemployed, an opposition TD has called on the Government to “seriously consider” Fianna Fáil’s proposals on tackling youth unemployment.

In figures released by the Central Statistics Office this week, of the 1,997 people aged under 25 in Westmeath who were unemployed in July, half are signing on in Mullingar, with a further 800 registered in Athlone and 218 in Castlepollard.

The figure for Longford was 1,005 unemployed under-25s, which is an identical proportion as its population is also half of Westmeath’s.

The CSO revealed that the national rate of unemployment among under-25s reached nearly 40 per cent last year, but that this has now levelled out at around 30 per cent.

“We now have a situation where nearly half of young people in some parts of the country are unemployed. In Longford there are just over 1,000 people under 25 on the live register and almost double that in Westmeath and we know that the extent of the problem nationwide is being masked by the number of people emigrating for work, or staying on in education,” said Deputy Robert Troy.

Fianna Fáil published a strategy on tackling youth unemployment in May which they believe will cost just €52 million.

The proposals included an ICT training scheme for 100,000 young job seekers, a new IFSC internship scheme for 1,000 young job seekers, the addition of 5,000 more graduate places on JobBridge, and dramatic reform of education, welfare, and employment services including the introduction of education and training vouchers for under-25s.

“The latest CSO figures must act as a wake-up call for the Government. Their various jobs plans have all failed to address the specific issue of youth unemployment, and have completely underestimated the extent of the problem. We need to show young people that there will be opportunities and that there is a future for them here, and that specific targeted measures are being introduced to support them in getting on the career ladder,” he concluded.

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