Last week Fianna Fáil announced a new plan aiming to tackle youth unemployment, calling for more training places and wide-ranging reforms. Here Micheál Martin describes the need for concerted action – and how youth emigration is hitting his own Cork community.
‘THE GREAT RECESSION’, as many across Europe are calling the current crisis, is causing a lot of pain for a lot of people in every community in Ireland. The biggest problem arising from it is the problem of unemployment.
Unemployment impacts on different people in different ways, but the loss of earnings, the loss of routine and for some people the loss of self worth attached to losing a job can be life-defining bad news.
The inability to find a job can be particularly hard on young people. The hopelessness that chronic youth unemployment can bring is not limited to the individual affected, nor indeed to their immediate families. Youth unemployment is have a silent and terrible impact on communities across the country. I know in my own club of Nemo Rangers in Cork we are losing people to emigration on a weekly basis. Mine is one of the larger clubs in the country and we still feel the impact very keenly. The effect it is having on smaller clubs and communities is devastating.
The Government has launched three job creation initiatives since the start of 2011 with varying degrees of success. However, despite this problem reaching the stage where one in three young people under the age of 30 are now out of work, there have not been any specific measures for this age group.
‘We aim to make clear that we as a country are serious about giving them hope’
I believe that the particular issue of youth unemployment is one that public representatives from every part of the political spectrum should be working together to tackle. Job creation is too important for party politics.
For our part, Fianna Fáil has been working over recent months to develop a detailed plan aimed at tacking youth unemployment and making it clear to this generation that we as a country are serious about giving them hope and getting them jobs.
Some of the measures we are calling for include 100,000 new ICT training places over the next four years and an additional 5,000 JobBridge placements for those under 25. We are also proposing radical reform of education, welfare and employment services. In this spirit, we are proposing an immediate pilot scheme introducing education and training vouchers. This would put the young people in question back in control of their own plans and help stem the flow of emigration.
Ours is an affordable and realistic plan, with a wide range of measures including those I’ve mentioned here. I would ask that these ideas be given urgent consideration by Fine Gael and the Labour Party. I’d also ask everyone with an interest in this area to read the plan in full and support its aims at fb.com/fiannafail.
Micheál Martin is the leader of Fianna Fáil and a TD for Cork South Central.