12 September 2022
By Tom Collins
New research carried out on behalf of the National Youth Council of Ireland paints a bleak picture of how young people view life in Ireland today, according to Social Democrats Cork South West TD Holly Cairns.
Deputy Cairns, who is the party’s spokesperson on Social Justice, said:
“The findings of the Red C research show that more than 70 percent of young people, aged between 18 and 24, are contemplating moving abroad for a better quality of life. Worryingly, eight in ten of those surveyed said they were fearful for the future, with 50 percent reporting worse mental health due to the cost of living crisis.
“Almost half of those who took part in the study said they were struggling to make ends meet and many believe the housing situation is now worse than it was six months ago.
“These findings are particularly concerning given that young people sacrificed so much during the pandemic, from disruption to their education to missing out on important milestones and lack of socialisation.
“The results of the survey reveal the harsh reality of young people’s experiences of living in Ireland. We risk becoming a nation of emigrants again due to failed Government policy in a number of areas impacting our youth, including housing, education, low pay and transport.
“My generation is the first in recent history where our quality of life will be worse than our parents. The reality of owning – or even renting – a home is nothing but a pipe dream for many young people today.
“Even once dependable jobs, such as teaching or working in healthcare, do not pay enough to meet rent and living expenses in Dublin and other cities. There are schools crying out for new teachers and the HSE is finding it increasingly difficult to recruit recent graduates.
“Young people clearly believe they will enjoy a better quality of life in places like Canada, Australia and New Zealand, so it’s hardly surprising seven out of ten would consider relocating abroad. The situation is even more stark in rural areas, where young people move away for college at the age 18 and may never again return.
“We need to see additional schemes and incentives in order to retain young people across a range of key professions, which will require further investment in third level education, apprenticeships and affordable housing.”