Youth organizations to ask Irish government to seriously tackle staggering ‘brain drain’

Union of Students in Ireland demonstration to highlight graduate unemployment, held in 2010.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a Paris-based economic think tank, is warning that more action needs to be taken within Ireland to get young people off the dole in hopes of preventing long-term high unemployment rates.

The Irish Independent reports that the OECD’s most recent report says, “Financial market confidence has improved but the bank lending environment for firms and households remains adverse. It is essential to make faster progress in dealing with non-performing loans.”

The OECD report also went on to call for reform in the labor market: “Decisive labor-market reforms are also needed to address the prospect of persistent high long-term unemployment, especially among young people, in particular by putting more resources into activation measures and better aligning skills with employers’ needs.”

The report forecasted a growth of 1 percent this year in Ireland, which is less than the 1.3 percent projected by the Department of Finance, but that by 2014 it should move up to 1.9 percent.

The report went on to say that Ireland’s 2013 14.3 percent unemployment should fall to 14.1 percent by 2014.

The OECD’s report comes just a few weeks after the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) reported that "The implications of losing such large numbers of our youth population will remain to be seen.”

Since 2009, over 300,000 people have emigrated out of Ireland, with 41 percent of that figure being in the 15-24 year old age bracket.

Just over half of those surveyed by the NYCI between the ages of 18 and 24 have at least considered emigration. The vast majority of people who had thought about leaving Ireland said it was either because they did not have a job or they wanted to look for better employment opportunities.

Armed with the staggering figures and OECD outlook, members of the NYCI, which represents youth organisations throughout Ireland, will travel to the Oireachtas to lobby politicians to do more. Specifically, they want a government minister tasked with taking responsibility for the issue.