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Youth Council renews calls on Government to ‘Future Proof with Investment in Youth’

Monday, October 8, 2018 - 13:00
  • Less than €1.25 a week per young person currently invested in youth work
  • Total youth work funding still 20% below 2008 levels, despite growing youth population
  • Number of those aged 10-24 to grow to over 1,000,000 by 2025

With our growing youth population set to surpass one million by 2025, investment in universal youth services is more important now than ever, that was the message from James Doorley, National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) Deputy Director, speaking in advance of Budget 2019. The NYCI represents 50 youth organisations that work with over 380,000 young people nationwide.


The 2016 census results indicate that the number of young people aged 10 to 24 will increase by 13.2% between 2015 and 2025 and will be just over one million young people by 2025 (1,005,938)[1], making Ireland the only European country with a growing youth population.


“NYCI is of the view that wise investment in our growing youth population now would be the best way to ensure long term social and economic success and better secure us against potential economic and financial shocks and difficulties,” said Mr Power.


Investment in young people essential

The NYCI is calling on Government to invest a further €11.5 million in universal youth work in Budget 2019 to strengthen voluntary youth work organisations, to provide more supports and activities for young people and to meet the needs of a growing youth population. It is also calling for the introduction of a Compliance Fund.  


Funding still 20% below that of a decade ago.

“Investment in youth work services from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) decreased by 31.7% over an eight year period, from €73.1m in 2008 to €49.9m in 2015. While funding for youth work from DCYA had recovered to €58.9m by 2018, mostly for targeted schemes, it is still 20% below that of a decade ago,” explained Mr Power.   


“These severe cutbacks have left significant deficits and have put a strain on volunteers, staff and organisations trying to deliver quality youth services and supports for the growing number of young people, while also meeting the increasing level of governance requirements. The Government urgently needs to address the overall funding deficits in Budget 2019.”


Less than €1.25 a week per young person currently invested in youth work


“In 2008, the investment in youth work services was €76 per young person. By 2014, this had collapsed to €58 per young person. So while there has been an increase in funding, the youth population is also growing significantly. This means the actual investment for 2018[2] comes to just €64 per young person – or just under €1.25 a week per young person. We propose that investment in universal youth work services should be increased to €85 per young person by 2020 - which amounts to €82m - to ensure every young person is able to avail of a youth work opportunity in their local community. In order to achieve this, Government must invest an additional funding allocation of €11.5m in Budget 2019,” said Mr Power.


Supporting Compliance and Governance


“One of the major changes in the last five years has been the significant increased workload arising from compliance and governance requirements. NYCI does not query the need for enhanced regulation; however it is important that the work it entails is recognised and properly resourced,” continued Mr Power.


“Voluntary youth organisations have had to invest significant human and financial resources into meeting the operational and reporting requirements of a range of new provisions - such as Children First, garda vetting, charities regulation, the Companies Act, lobbying regulation, GDPR, the National Quality Standards Framework (NQSF) for the Youth Work Sector among others - without any additional funding to meet these costs. We are concerned that 90% of our member organisations report having to divert staff and volunteer time away from working directly with young people to focus on compliance, governance and reporting.


“Therefore to ensure that direct work with young people is not undermined, NYCI proposes the introduction of a dedicated €1.5m Compliance Fund in Budget 2019.”



Economic benefit: state saves €2.20 for every €1 spent on youth work

“For every €1 spent on youth work, the state gets a return on investment of over 100%, according to an Indecon report on the economic benefit of youth work,” added Mr Power. **


“Investment in youth work services will not just make a difference now, but will generate a social and economic dividend over the coming decades. As the title of our Pre-Budget submission “Future Proof with Investment in Youth” illustrates, the best means of securing long-term social and economic sustainability is investment in our people, in particular our growing youth population. We call on Government to make that choice in Budget 2019,” concluded Mr Power.



For further information, please contact Daniel Meister, Communications Manager at NYCI on 087 781 4903 or 01 425 5955 or email


Notes to Editors:

National Youth Council of Ireland

The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) is a membership-led umbrella organisation that represents and supports the interests of voluntary youth organisations and uses its collective experience to act on issues that impact on young people.


*Population Estimates, CSO:


**Assessment of the Economic Value of Youth Work, Indecon Economic Consultants, NYCI, 2012




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

[2] Census 2016, CSO (925,582 young people and a budget of €58.9m)