Policy News from Youth Work Ireland

Policy Brief, December 2013

In order to better inform thinking and knowledge on policy issues around the areas of children and youth, Youth Work Ireland's advocacy department produce a quarterly policy brief, which contains short updates on current developments in national policy and highlight issues relevant to the areas of children and young people. We hope you find this useful.

1. Job Seekers Allowance Cuts for Under 26s
Budget 2014 contained cuts to Job Seekers Allowance for under 26s, a key breach of one of the two major Programme for Government commitments not to cut core social welfare payments. There has been considerable opposition to the measure from youth groups, charities and opposition parties. It has also been revealed that the logic of prioritising education and training places for the young unemployed is flawed. The measures involve a rate of €100 for all new claimants up to 24 and a rate of €144 for 25 year olds, with some limited exceptions for parents and those who have previously done courses.  A number of groups continue to work on this issue and have recently been examining legal avenues.

Irish Times on Potential Problems with the Youth Guarantee Following Welfare Cuts

Job Seekers Allowance for Under 26s

We’re Not Leaving


2. Youth Unemployment

There has been a gradual decrease in youth unemployment as measured by the last few Live Register reports and the Quarterly National Household Survey. Emigration figures however are only published once a year and these show about 30,000 young people leaving the country annually. Similarly young people have not experienced any increase in their numbers at work as measured by the QNHS again suggesting the recovery is not reaching them.

November Live Register

November Quarterly National Household Survey

ETBI Submission to DSP


3. Youth Guarantee

The European Youth Guarantee will be rolled out in 2014 but it is still far from clear what this will mean for young people on the ground. The Government is to submit plans to Brussels by the end of the year which will draw down about €63 million in support from the European Social Fund and European Youth Employment Initiative. Youth Work Ireland has made a submission to the Department of Social Protection on the Youth Guarantee. It is widely accepted that the Guarantee will not be as extensive as recommended at EU level. There is also the prospect that specific provision may be made via youth organisations

Youth Work Ireland DSP Submission on the Youth Guarantee

Stephen Donnelly Parliamentary Questions Relating to the Youth Guarantee

RTE on the Youth Guarantee and Lack of Education and Training Places

4. Equal Status Acts Review

Youth Work Ireland made a submission to this review highlighting the need to abolish discrimination by religious institutions

Submission by Youth Work Ireland


5. Bringing the Strands Together

Youth Work Ireland’s National Conference was held on November 2nd, 2013. The theme was Bringing the Stands Together - the challenges and opportunities in delivering joined up services for young people' and over 140 delegates heard presentations from senior civil servants, researchers, youth workers, young people, volunteers and…Paddy Casey!

Bringing the Strands Together


6. Vetting

Garda Vetting delays are still an issue of concern.

Dail Question on Garda Vetting


7. Child and Family Agency Act

The Child and Family Agency Act has now passed and will soon be signed by the President.

The UNESCO NUIG Centre Commissioning Report

Seanad Committee Stage

8. A Guide to Children’s EU Rights

The Children’s Rights Alliance has launched a booklet on the European Union and Children’s Rights. The Booklet was launched at a seminar on the same topic. Speakers at the event included Geoffrey Shannon Child Law Expert, Billy Hawkes Data Protection Commissioner, Natalie McDonnell BL, Hilkka Becker Immigrant Council of Ireland and Eilis Barry BL.

Read the Guide

Some Speakers Presentations


9. Public Interest Law Alliance Event on Job Seekers Allowance Cuts for Young People

The Public Interest Law Alliance held a round-table with a number of legal professionals and NGOs regarding the cuts to Job seekers Allowance in Budget 2014. A number of youth groups and experienced barristers in the field attended and shared valuable insights. It is intended to keep up the dialogue and explore future options in this area

The PILA Round table

10. ESRI and Youth Unemployment

On November 13th, The ESRI held a seminar “Labour Market Transitions of Young Unemployed People in Ireland Pre and Post the Recession and Related Findings from the OECD Economic Survey of Ireland 2013” The event highlighted the continuing problem of unemployment amongst young people and the need for a robust response from the education and training system. Speakers included Elish Kelly (ESRI), Seamus McGuinness (ESRI), Philip O’Connell (UCD), David Haugh (OECD), and Alberto Gonzalez Pandiella (OECD).

Seminar Details


11. Dáil na nÓg

Dáil na nÓg took place on November 15 with over 200 delegates from all around Ireland gathering in Croke Park to select and discuss the most relevant issues to them. Mental Health was the overall theme of the day. The Dáil voted for a national mental health gathering involving music and events to improve attitudes towards mental health. This was chose form amongst 20 areas.

Dáil na nÓg Website

The Irish Times

The Irish Examiner

12. Law Reform Commission Work Programme

The Law Reform Commission keeps the law under review and conducts research with a view to the reform of the law. A Programme of Law Reform is prepared by the Commission, approved by Government and placed before both Houses of the Oireachtas in accordance with the 1975 Law Reform Commission Act. The Law Reform Commission’s Fourth Programme of Law Reform was launched on November 27th by the Attorney General, Máire Whelan SC. The Programme contains a commitment to produce a report on Sexual Offences against Children consistent with a submission by Youth Work Ireland.

The Fourth Programme of Law Reform

Law Reform Commission Press Release


13. Erasmus +

Erasmus+ will bring together all the current EU and international schemes for education, training, youth and sport, replacing seven existing programmes with one. This will increase efficiency, make it easier to apply for grants, as well as reducing duplication and fragmentation. It is due to start in 2014. The main aim remains the same – to improve people s skills and ultimately their employability as well as to support the modernisation of education and training systems

Information from Leargas

Information from the European Commission

14. Child Detention Centres

Despite the announced closure of Saint Patrick's Institution concerns persist about the detention of young people and child detention centres. The Children Act 2001 introduced a variety of sanctions for young people and set out detention as the last resort consistent with international best practice. Centres are managed by the Irish Youth Justice Service. There are three centres considered suitable for the detention of young people; Oberstown Boys School, Oberstown Girls School and Trinity House School

Roisin Shortall Parliamentary Question

If you have any question on this political brief of require any further information, please contact Michael McLoughlin at Youth Work Ireland 
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