Mayo Fine Gael TD John O'Mahony has warned that youth unemployment has shot up by 149 per cent since the general election, and is having a devastating impact on young people.
“The latest CSO live register figures confirm that unemployment is the single greatest challenge facing us as a nation. Youth unemployment continues to be a major problem that will have long-term consequences if it is not tackled now,” he explained.
“Since the Fianna Fáil/Green Government came into office in June 2007 unemployment among under-25 year olds has jumped from 33,872 to 84,398. The Government has become obsessed with the banking and fiscal crises and is ignoring the jobs and competitiveness crisis.
“Youth Work Ireland published their Voices of Youth Poll in December showing the impact this is having on young Irish people. The poll of 1,029 young people between the ages of 12 and 18 revealed that 59.8 per cent expected to be unemployed after finishing their education while 47.6 per cent expected to emigrate after finishing their education.
“Fine Gael is the only party to offer plans to tackle youth unemployment,” Dep O'Mahony claimed.
“Our NewERA stimulus package, employment-focused tax cuts and support for small businesses will help reduce unemployment across all age profiles. Our Hope for a Lost Generation policy will directly target youth unemployment with workshare schemes like those in Germany and the US, a National Internship Programme and by increasing the number of places available on further education and retraining programmes.
“An entire generation of young Irish people now believe that unemployment and emigration lie in store for them in the future. This is the real legacy of Brian Cowen and his Fianna Fáil/Green Government. If the prospect of long-term youth unemployment and emigration is to be avoided the Government must adopt policies like those proposed by Fine Gael.”