The ESRI’s latest emigration predictions that 1000 people a week are set to leave Ireland this year alone is turning into a stark reality on the doorsteps in Roscommon/South Leitrim.
Every day I meet mothers who are grieving for their sons and daughters who have left Ireland for a job or who have already booked their flight.
Local communities and football teams are being decimated by the scourge of emigration.
I spoke to a 62 year old family man who is emigrating to Australia. His business has been wiped out by money that he is owed but cannot get. He cannot get social welfare, and he is struggling to survive.
These stories have to shock the political system into urgent action.
We must have a jobs plan and we need it now!
We must provide hope, a Government with the ambition and vision to implement plans to address Ireland’s economic challenges.
Fine Gael has put forward concrete plans to protect and create up to 180,000 jobs yet Fianna Fáil’s only response to date has been to cut dole payments for new claimants.
Fine Gael is the only party to offer plans to tackle youth unemployment. Our NewERA stimulus package, employment-focused tax cuts and support for small businesses will help to reduce unemployment across all age profiles. In addition our ‘Hope for a Lost Generation’ policy will directly target youth unemployment with workshare schemes like those in Germany and the US, a National Internship Programme and by increasing the number of places available on further education and retraining programmes.
The priority must be to ensure that no young person falls into the long-term unemployment trap and in the process loses their chance to participate fully in society. We must guarantee places in education, training, community employment and Government-sponsored internship for any young person who is on social welfare.
We have now gone from a situation during the time of the last Fine Gael-led Government where we were creating 1,000 jobs/week to a situation where 1,000 people/week are leaving Ireland
An entire generation of young Irish people now believe that unemployment and emigration lie in store for them in the future. We cannot allow this to be the legacy of the Celtic Tiger and we must work together to ensure that we can provide hope and a future to those on the dole.
See www.new-era.ie for more information