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‘Bleak vista’: Cllr says ‘worrying number’ of young people forced to emigrate

A Co Meath councillor has said that “worryingly high” numbers of young people are being forced to emigrate because of the high cost of living and because they feel the housing crisis “offers no reprieve or hope” and view the future in Ireland as “bleak”.

Aontú’s Emer Tóibín made her remarks as she addressed a youth event for 18-35 year olds in Kildare saying that emigration was now an enormous issue for their age group, who she said were being failed by the government.

‘’The consistent issue causing significant anxiety to this age-group is the worryingly high number of their peers, friends and colleagues who are emigrating due to the housing crisis and escalating cost of living here in Ireland,” Cllr Tóibín said.

“No doubt, travelling the world and gaining invaluable work experience in different landscapes and cultures is a huge draw for so many college graduates or young professionals,” she sad.

“But this is different. This is not voluntary emigration; this is forced and the vista is bleak,” the Co Meath Cllr asserted.

She said that even though young people were well-educated and well-paid the option of building a good life in Ireland seemed off the table.

“There is a crushing acknowledgement and acceptance that the option of building and planning a good life in Ireland is off the table for a very sizeable cohort of well-educated, well-paid professionals and workers,” she said.

“The number of our young adults priced out of the rental and housing purchase market is growing at an alarming rate as is the unprecedented placement of 12,441 people and children in unsuitable and unsustainable homeless accommodation. There is just nowhere affordable to live.”

The Aontú Councillor took aim at the government’s housing policy, saying housing developments are often beyond the reach of younger buyers.

“Current government housing policy and strategy offers no reprieve or hope. Whatever housing developments come on stream, the majority are way beyond the buying or renting power of our young people,” she said.

“Mortgage interest rates are punitive and make the possibility of home ownership even more remote than ever. The ongoing cost of living crisis adds another layer of intolerable pressure The government’s ‘Housing for All’ strategy, aspirational in word and deed, has never rang so hollow as more and more people take to foreign shores in the hope of a new, feasible life and future.”

She said that Ireland would be left “all the poorer” if large numbers of young people left the country to “get on with their lives”.

“Confidence in the powers that be to redress years of inaction and incompetence in the area of housing has reached a new low and large numbers of young people know they need to get on with their lives. Sadly, if not tragically, this will not happen on the island of Ireland and we will all be the poorer for it.”

A recent poll found that 75% of young people in Ireland say that they are considering emigrating because of the cost of living crisis, especially around the rocketing price of renting, and the lack of housing.

That mirrored a previous Red C poll which found that more than 70% of young people aged 18-24 are considering moving abroad for a better quality of life.


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