I draw attention to a comment made last week by the esteemed leader of the country who expressed sadness about the impact emigration had had on people’s lives. He said:
We also want people to be able to come home. Emigration has a devastating impact on our economy as we lose the input of people of talent and energy. We need these people at home and we will welcome them. I want to see them playing their part in the rebuilding of our economy, bringing home their experience to take up some of the jobs that are now being created.
That was the Taoiseach spelling out the devastating effects of emigration. The most up-to-date scientific figures published by the CSO indicate that last year 1,600 people were emigrating every week – 800 young Irish people and 800 non-Irish people. The sad fact is that very few of them are coming back. The Taoiseach is saying we will welcome them back to fill the jobs being created, but we have to ask the question: why do they not want to come back to Ireland? This question has to be addressed by each and every person in this Chamber. What is wrong that the young people to whom I refer do not want to come back?
I draw attention to the most recent ESRI research bulletin entitled, Impact of the Great Recession on Unemployed Youth and NEET Individuals. NEET stands for not in education, employment or training.The bulletin states:
One of the first questions addressed by the research was to examine how the profile of unemployed and NEET youths changed pre and post the recession. Before the downturn, young females were more likely to be unemployed; however, post recession the risk was higher for young males. Non-Irish national youths have a higher likelihood of becoming unemployed since the economic downturn as well. The importance of having a Leaving Certificate or higher level of education in reducing the risk of a young person becoming either unemployed or NEET has become stronger since the economic crisis. Apart from their age profile, the characteristics associated with being a NEET youth ….. individuals were more likely to be aged 20-24, whereas unemployed youths were aged 15-19.
As I have said before, we are inundated with public relation statements by this Government on a daily basis which camouflage and massage the figures. I accept that the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation is doing his best to reduce unemployment but 22% of young people are still unemployed. As far as I am concerned, having 22% youth unemployment is a crisis. I ask the Leader to arrange an urgent debate on the ESRI’s latest study on the impact of the great recession on the unemployed. I also call for a discussion on what we can do to alleviate the 22% youth unemployment figure. People say it is great that the unemployment figure has been reduced by 10.6% but there has not been a word about 22% youth unemployment.