Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has called on the Irish Government to take advantage of available EU funding and invest in our young people by tackling issues such as youth unemployment.
The Ireland South MEP was speaking in her capacity as a member of the EU Culture and Education Committee, where she has been working on contributions to the future Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF) 2020.
The MFF is the framework that sets the maximum amounts of funding which can be spent in different sectors.
“As part of my role on the Culture and Education committee I have been working on a file making recommendations on the EU parliaments position on the MFF post-2020,” she said.
“One of my main concerns has been to ensure the safeguarding and expansion of funding for projects aimed at supporting young people.
“The lack of investment in addressing youth unemployment in previous years has been utterly shameful and has lead to unacceptably high levels of Youth Unemployment throughout Europe. This despite the issue being laid out as a priority by the European Council.
“While I welcome the fact that over €115m in funding for the Youth Employment Initiative is being made available in next years budget, something I argued strongly for on both the Budgets and Culture and Education Committees, I am now appealing directly to the Irish Government to apply for this funding and create meaningful opportunities, training and employment for our young people.
“In Ireland we have this outrageous situation now where our economy is growing but benefitting only a select few.
“Some of those being failed most are our young people, the future of the country.
“For those lucky enough to have meaningful employment, they are finding themselves in a situation where between the costs of rent, insurance and other general living expenses, they are finding it impossible to save, living pay cheque to pay cheque.
“This leaves them at the mercy of unscrupulous employers, greedy landlords and practically unregulated organisations. Is it any wonder they continue to flee the country?
“If we want young people to be able to envision a life for themselves here then we must provide them with options. We start by investing in fair, fulfilling employment.”