Tuesday 6 December 2016

State continues with its war on youth, denying them a place in a brighter future

Lorraine Courtney

Published 15/07/2016 | 02:30

Nobody can deny that things remain terminally bleak here for young people after years of economic collapse and austerity measures. Stock image
Nobody can deny that things remain terminally bleak here for young people after years of economic collapse and austerity measures. Stock image

Even for a generation used to bad news, the revelation this week that the Government could increase third- level fees and create a student loan system in the next few years is a blow. It increasingly seems like successive governments are locked in ideological warfare against young people.

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Nobody can deny that things remain terminally bleak here for young people after years of economic collapse and austerity measures. In fact, the results of the latest ESRI research are unsurprising and show that the nosedive in young people's living conditions has not gone unnoticed. Sky-high college entrance fees and private rents, a shortage of affordable housing, low wages and benefit cuts have combined to make adult life in Ireland a very scary prospect right now. And economics aside, there are actual social, cultural and emotional implications if you've been trapped in a decade of gloom.

New ESRI research suggests that one-quarter of young people suffer from a minimum of three out of the 11 social problems highlighted by researchers. These issues are income poverty, being unable to afford basic goods and services, financial strain, poor health, mental distress, housing quality problems, crowded accommodation, neighbourhood problems, mistrust in institutions (such as the political system, legal system and police), lack of social support and feeling unsafe in the local area. Young adults are twice as likely as the over-70s to experience these quality-of-life problems.

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