LEAVE OR SUCK IT UP. That’s the message the government has sent to our young people, despite all their lip service to youth mental-health issues. Effectively, 18-24 years olds were punished for being unemployed, getting €112 a week to live on. In June we were told that half of that age group were unemployed. The figures since then though improved, remain unclear. Our young people are our hope – they deserve better that they, and we, are getting from FFG ers

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Dr. J Connolly’s recent report ‘ Building Community Resilience’ looked at drugs, gangland and crime, and the involvement of children caught up in the drugs trade. Let’s not forget that the communities where this is rife, are the communites most affected by cutbacks during the austerity years. Most of these cuts have not been restored – to things like youth and community programmes, drugs programmes and outreach work. An approch to tackling the problems must begin with restoration of the cuts, to communities and programmes that the government cynically referred to as the ‘low hanging fruit’.

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A Fine Gael councilor in Cork says services for marginalized groups just aren’t being used. I spoke to those providing them who say different. YOUTH, COMMUNITY AND ADDICTION SERVICES WERE DECIMATED BY AUSTERITY. In particular addiction services were run down, many closed down, and not re-opened – so that we could bail out banks. And now FG want to again blame the victims, like blaming the poor for poverty.

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