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Very disappointing budget delivers little for young people and youth work services

Tuesday, October 9, 2018 - 17:45

Investment still 17 % less than ten years ago despite growing demand for services and Ireland’s increasing youth population

The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) - which represents groups working with over 380,000 young people nationwide - has expressed deep disappointment at the announcement by Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, TD, with the derisory increase of just €1.5m additional funding would be provided for youth services nationwide in Budget 2019.


“Given the scale of the youth work sector, where 1,400 staff work with over 40,000 volunteers to support 380,000 young people nationwide, to see only an €1.5m in additional investment announced in Budget 2019 to support the huge volume of youth work programmes and services delivered by the voluntary youth work sector up and down the country, is very disappointing,” said Mary Cunningham, NYCI Director.


“Much more will be needed to meet the growing demand for services, given that Ireland’s youth population is set to increase over 13% in the coming years, resulting in a population of over one million young people by 2025”[1]


“The small increase is particularly disappointing given that funding for youth services is still almost 17% below 2008 levels despite our growing youth population,” explained Ms Cunningham.


“Having borne over 30% cuts in funding during the financial crisis, youth work is still to benefit from the recovery, with a risk that some young people will be left behind as under-resourced youth services struggle to cope with our growing youth population.”


Investment in youth work services by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) decreased by 31.7% over an eight year period, dropping from €73.1m in 2008 to €49.9m in 2015. While this funding has recovered to €58.9m by 2018, we needed to see a significant investment in young people and youth work in Budget 2019 and on that issue the Government has failed.

Moreover, given that this year’s allocation is being targeted at new initiatives, existing funding schemes such as the Youth Service Grant Scheme and Special Projects for Youth appear to be getting no additional funding for the second year in a row,” added MS Cunningham.


“We remain committed to working with Minister Zappone and her Department on ensuring the increased allocation delivers for young people, while continuing to advocate that the sector does require more investment if it is do more for more young people.”

We will seek a meeting with Minister Zappone and her Department in the aftermath of the Budget, to restate the need for increased investment in youth work over the next number of years to ensure we can deliver more and enhanced youth work services for young people,” added Ms Cunningham.


Value for money: every €1 spent on youth services the state saves €2.20
“It is worth remembering that, as well as making a very significant social impact, the youth sector also delivers exceptional value for money. An independent report by Indecon on the economic value of the sector found that for every €1 spent on youth services the state saves €2.20 euro in the long run. With further resources youth organisations can make an even greater contribution to addressing issues including youth unemployment, social exclusion and poverty,”[2] concluded Ms Cunningham.


CONTACT: Daniel Meister, Communications Manager at NYCI 087 781 4903


NYCI Pre-Budget 2019 Submission ‘Future Proof with Investment in Youth’ can be found here:


[1] E3003, Population 2011-2016 by Single Year of Age, Sex, County and City, CSO,



[2] Indecon Report: Assessment of the Economic Value of youth Work:


National Youth Council of Ireland

NYCI is a membership-led umbrella organisation that represents and supports the interests voluntary youth organisations and uses its collective experience to act on issues that impact on young people.