The State has spent €9.6bn on educating the 89,000 people who emigrated from Ireland in the last year, a trend that is set to continue unless action is taken, claims Denis Naughten TD.
Speaking in the Dáil this evening (Thursday) on the Social Welfare Bill, Denis Naughten said that while emigration has always been the safety valve for successive Governments to address the spiralling cost of unemployment payments it is a “fatally flawed policy”.
“Emigration of nearly 90,000 people in the last 12 month period is a huge brain drain for our economy. This education is flowing out of the country at a time when we urgently need the best and most innovative to start creating jobs,” stated Denis Naughten.
“However, it is also economically unsustainable because the €9.6bn in lost education is €800m more than the total annual education budget. We are rocketing towards catastrophe at a rate of €20,000 per minute and we don’t even realise it.
“We must urgently review our policy on young people and emigration. We must reform the opportunities for reskilling, which need to be focused on job vacancies and the changing economy, not what suits the current system.
“For example, what is the point in having a law or honours arts degree if you cannot get a job and cannot access supports to reskill to take up vacant posts within the economy because you have a rigid rule under the Back to Education scheme that states ‘you must progress in educational qualifications’.
“I believe that this should mean that you progress in an area that will allow you to come off the dole and into employment, it should not mean that you progress to a masters or PhD in a profession that has little or no prospect of employment,” concluded Denis Naughten.