National Youth Council of Ireland – Comhairle Náisiúnta na nÓg
With our growing youth population set to surpass one million by 2025, investment in universal youth services is more important now than ever, however this has not be recognised by the Government in the last few budgets, with current investment still 17% below that of 2008, that was the message from James Doorley, National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) Deputy Director, speaking in advance of Budget 2020. 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)[i], 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. The Government have acknowledged the importance of investing in young people, however in the last few budgets they have not put their money where their mouth is. An analysis of youth work services funding over the last 15 years indicates that young people and youth work have not received their fair share,” said Mr Doorley.
A fair share for young people and youth work
The NYCI is calling on Government to invest a further €16.6m million in universal youth work in Budget 2020 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. “Of the €16.6m being sought, we are calling for €3m to be invested in the Youth Service Grant Scheme which supports mainline youth services all over the country.
“While we acknowledge many sectors of our economy and society endured cuts in the aftermath of the economic crash, youth work services have not benefitted from the recovery which is evident in Government spending since then. Since 2012, overall Government spending has increased by 12%[ii] from €52.8bn to €59.3bn, while funding for youth work has only increased by 0.3%[iii] from €60.2m to €60.4m. Likewise expenditure in the Department of Children and Youth Affairs between 2014 and 2019 has increased by €511m[iv], while youth work has only received 2% of these funds or €10.6m in these five years,” said Mr Doorley.
Invest €3m in the Youth Service Grant Scheme
“A stark example of the lack of tangible financial support is the fact that current investment in the Youth Service Grant Scheme (YSGS) is at 2005 funding levels, not taking inflation into account. The YSGS enables 30 national and regional youth organisations to deliver mainstream youth work and support local groups, branches and units in every community in Ireland. In 2005, the funding allocation to the YSGS was €10.96m, in 2019 it stands at €11.12m, or just €160,000 (1.4%) more. Between January 2005 and December 2018 the rate of inflation has been 15.7%[v], therefore if the YSGS was increased just to meet cost of living increases since then the total allocation would be €12.7m.
“The fact that the funds available to youth organisations from the YSGS in 2019 are static when compared with 2005 – and well below when inflation is taken into account – encapsulates the reason why voluntary youth organisations are under such strain. It is unsurprising that youth organisations are struggling to provide services to an increased and more diverse cohort of young people and also manage the significant increase in regulation and compliance requirements. This has led to an unsustainable situation and is why NYCI is calling on Government to allocate an additional €3m to the YSGS in Budget 2020.”
Time to fulfil commitments
“In June NYCI held the ‘Youth Work Changes Lives’ National Youth Work Showcase and 400 young people from youth groups from every county and constituency met with over 100 TDs and Senators. The overwhelming message from the young people was about the value and contribution of youth work to their personal lives and their communities. Both Government and opposition politicians supported the call from the young people for increased investment in youth work. We are now calling on Minister Zappone and Government to deliver on this modest request for increased support in Budget 2020.
“The youth work sector wants to deliver better and more services for the growing population of young people, however this cannot be delivered on scraps, minimal funding and under investment. The sector is only asking for a fair share for young people and youth work in Budget 2020” concluded Mr Doorley.
For further information, please contact Daniel Meister, Communications Manager at NYCI on 087 781 4903 or 01 425 5955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Campaign resources and key figures: youth.ie/budget2020
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.
[i] E3003, Population 2011-2016 by Single Year of Age, Sex, County and City, CSO, https://www.cso.ie/px/pxeirestat/Statire/SelectVarVal/Define.asp?maintable=E3003&PLanguage=0
[ii] Dáil Éireann, Parliamentary Question 242, 8th May 2019
[iii] Dáil Éireann, Parliamentary Questions 1363-1366, 8th May 2019,
[iv] Dáil Éireann, Parliamentary Question 1371, 8th May 2019
[v] CSO CPI Inflation Calculator https://www.cso.ie/en/interactivezone/visualisationtools/cpiinflationcalculator/