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NYCI General Election Manifesto

“Quest for the Best: Make Ireland the best country in which to be a young person”

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Introduction

Ireland has been through difficult times since 2008. As noted by the National Economic and Social Council “young people are hit hardest by the crisis.[1] One element of the work of the next Government is to repair the damage done by the policies and actions undertaken during the crisis. NYCI welcomes the commitments in the National Policy Framework for Children and Young People 2014-2020 “Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures”[2] and the imminent publication of the National Youth Strategy 2015-2020. Many of the recommendations in the document, if fully resourced and implemented, will have a positive impact on the lives of young people. The next Government should aspire to do more than that. We believe Ireland can aim higher. We want our country to begin and complete “the quest for the best and to make Ireland the best country in which to be a young person.”

Context

Ireland has one of the youngest populations in Europe with one-third under 25 years, with 10-24 year olds representing 18.3% of the total population of 4.59 million[3]. These numbers are predicted to grow, with the number of 10-24 year olds increasing by 13% between 2015 and 2020. This positive demographic trend provides many opportunities for our economy and society, however, it is incumbent on the next Government to plan and put in place strategies to ensure this increased number of young people have access to the supports and services they need.

Manifesto

This General Election Manifesto puts forward a range of proposals to improve the lives of young people, to support them to achieve their full potential and ultimately to make Ireland the best country in the world in which to be a young person. The recommendations and details underpinning our proposals are outlined below.

Summary of Recommendations

This is a summary of the NYCI proposals for the next Programme for Government;

Youth Policy

  • NYCI calls on the next Government to retain the position of Minister for Children and Youth Affairs at cabinet rank and maintain the Department of Children and Youth Affairs
  • NYCI calls on the next Government to fully resource the implementation of the National Youth Strategy 2015-2020

Youth Work Services

  • NYCI calls on the next Government to increase investment in current youth work funding by €15  from €58 in 2014 to €73 per young person by 2020, this equates to an investment in current spending of €73.1m by 2020
  • NYCI calls on the next Government to introduce a revised Youth Capital Grants Scheme with an annual budget of €1m
  • NYCI calls on the next Government to invest €1m per annum in the Local Youth Club Grant Scheme

Social Inclusion

  • NYCI calls on the next Government to restore the full rate of Jobseekers Allowance to those under 26 years to €188
  • NYCI calls on the next Government to commit to the introduction of a Living Wage

Education and Training

  • NYCI calls on the next Government to review current implementation of the Youth Guarantee and set out ambitious targets for delivery of the initiative from 2016-2020
  • NYCI calls on the next Government to develop a National Strategy for a Comprehensive Guidance Service

Employment

  • NYCI calls on the next Government to undertake a review of JobBridge with a view to reform and enhance the scheme
  • NYCI calls on the next Government to introduce a “Fair Work Certificate” which employers seeking to avail of public funds for job creation would be required to hold

Housing and Accommodation

  • NYCI calls on the next Government to introduce rent controls so that annual rent increases cannot exceed the Consumer Price Index
  • NYCI calls on the next Government to give greater security to tenants
  • NYCI calls on the next Government to ensure that the Aftercare Bill as proposed is amended to guarantee a right to housing for young people leaving care
  • NYCI calls on the next Government to ensure that aftercare supports are provided to young people on the basis of need irrespective of how long they have been in the care system

Health

  • NYCI calls on the next Government to ensure effective implementation of “Connecting for Life”, Ireland’s National Strategy to Reduce Suicide 2015-2020
  • NYCI calls on the next Government to implement the provisions of Public Health (Alcohol) Bill with regard to marketing and advertising, price and supply in line with the recommendations of the National Substance Misuse Strategy Group report and to phase out the sponsorship of major sporting events by the drinks industry

Democracy and Participation

  • NYCI calls on the next Government to bring forward a referendum to extend voting rights to young people aged 16 and 17 in Dáil and Presidential elections and referenda and to bring forward legislation to extend voting rights to young people aged 16 and 17 in local and European elections
  • NYCI calls on the next Government to extend voting rights to the Irish abroad
  • NYCI calls on the next Government to establish an Electoral Commission

Arts 

  • NYCI calls on the next Government to develop and implement an action plan which would guarantee each child growing up in Ireland equality of access to the arts (both in and out of school) and tackle economic, geographical and educational disadvantage as barriers to participation and deliver on the arts access promised to each child as part of the five National Outcomes for Children contained in “Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures”
  • NYCI calls on the Government to fully implement the 'Arts in Education Charter' and to further develop the Charter to incorporate non-formal education and youth arts and to deliver on its responsibilities to this sector as recommended in the document

Pensions

  • NYCI calls on the next Government to ensure the concerns and needs of young workers on low wages and in precarious employment are taken into account when the proposed auto-enrolment into pension schemes is introduced

Sustainable Development

  • NYCI calls on the next Government to develop an ambitious national plan of action to monitor and implement the Sustainable Development Goals
 

[1]  The Social Implications of the Crisis: the Evidence and the Implications, NESC May 2013

[2] Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures: the National Policy Framework for Children and Young People 2014-2020. Available here.

[3] CSO Annual Population Estimates http://www.cso.ie/px/pxeirestat/Database/eirestat/Annual%20Population%20... Population Estimates&Planguage=0