Youth forum told jobless feel 'useless'

Maria Pepper

Young unemployed people in Wexford feel 'demoralised and useless' a pre-election youth forum was told.

The forum in Clonard Community Centre was organised by Wexford Youth Action Group which represents young jobseekers in the county.

Election candidates were invited along to listen to the views of participants on transport, education and employment.

Also in attendance were students from Youthtrain, Access 2000, Wexford Vocational College, the Bridgetown School Completion Programme and the Cornmarket Project.

Wexford Youth Action Group which was formed last September with the support of Wexford Local Development, presented a pre-election manifesto to the candidates.

'As young people looking for work and depending on social welfare, we feel a huge sense of embarrassment,' said group member Stephen Doyle.

'We are embarrassed to be dependent on our parents and feel that we are often stigmatised as lazy or uninterested in work.'

'This often comes across in how we are treated by officials in Government departments, some of whom we feel look down on us for being unemployed,' he said.

'We feel demoralised and useless - for some people this can lead to severe mental health difficulties, depression and even suicide.'

Another member Alice Stevens Taylor said many young people do not vote and are skeptical about the electoral process.

Ethan Molloy outlined some of the issues affecting unemployed young people.

Transport is a problem for many. 'We depend more on public transport than other sections of the population,' he said..

'Something as simple as trying to print out a CV in a rural community can mean a bus trip to a bigger town.'

The group called on elected representatives to develop a local transport policy providing improved services including a daily return bus service to Carlow I.T.

They want local politicians to take a lead in encouraging employers to become more 'youth friendly' and give young people a chance as well as ensuring the provision of more training opportunities.

Each of the 11 election candidates who turned up was given a chance to address the participants.

All of them promised to do what they can to improve the prospects of young people in Wexford which has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the country.

Wexford People

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