Dublin South West Sinn Féin TD, Seán Crowe, has slammed the Government over its lack of urgency and funding of a Youth Guarantee.

Crowe was speaking after a Sinn Féin proposed motion in the Dáil which called on the Government to allocate at least €400 million to adequately fund a robust Youth Guarantee Scheme.

Deputy Crowe said:

“The scale and depth of youth unemployment is absolutely shocking and causing huge social and economic damage right across this island.

“In this State 64,700 young people are currently unemployed and the unemployment rate for those under 25 years is almost 30 per cent.

“We know that this figure would be much higher if it wasn’t for the mass emigration of our young people with no other real option. UCC’s Emigre report found that over 70 per cent of Irish emigrants are aged in their twenties when they depart.

“Yet the Government and the EU has let this huge crisis continue unabated and showed a severe lack of any urgency in tackling what is one of the biggest problems this country is facing.

“I have been consistently raising this issue with the Government for months, in speeches in the Dáil, in the EU Affairs Committee, and on the Foreign Affairs Committee, yet the Government have failed to listen and failed to act.

“In fact, while the Government was pouring out empty rhetoric about how it would prioritise tackling youth unemployment, it only provided €14 million in Budget 2014 for the Youth Guarantee Scheme. Additionally Labour and Fine Gael MEPs recently voted in the EU Parliament, for whatever bizarre reason, against increasing EU funding for youth employment measures.

“It’s long past the time that the Government gets serious and urgently tackles the funding of a Youth Guarantee Scheme, that we believe needs to be funded by about €400 million. A scheme that would aim to provide all young people with a good quality offer of employment, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship within four months of becoming unemployed.”