Sinn Féin Senator Fintan Warfield has stated the need for a serious conversation about Ireland’s future population projections and the underlying issues that these forecast, given the publication of Census 2016 figures on the age profile of Ireland, saying that “there has been very little effort to address the issue of youth emigration or provisions put in place to encourage our emigrant’s home”.
Senator Warfield highlighted that the number of people between the ages of 20-34 has decreased by 119,252, a fall of 12%.
Speaking from Leinster House today, Senator Warfield said:
“Figures released by the CSO on the age profile of Ireland from the results of Census 2016 highlight worrying issues that that are coming down the line for Ireland as we deal with increased levels of age dependency, which is measured as the number of younger and older people as a percentage of those of working age.
“The figures show that, since 2011, the number of people over the age of 64 has increased by 6.4% and the number of children at primary school age has increased by 8.8%, while the number of people between the ages of 20-34 has decreased by 119,252, a fall of 12%.
“The reason that we need such a conversation is because of extraordinary high number of young people who had to emigrate during the height of the crisis and the austerity years thereafter.
“This has been mirrored by decreases in the number of young people in employment. For instance, since Fine Gael came to office in Q1 2011, the number of people aged 20-34 in employment has fallen by 68,000 (Q1 2017).
“If this trend continues, then our working population will struggle to be able to provide essential services for the young and the old and we will have a complete breakdown of the intergenerational social contract.
“There needs to be serious effort on behalf of this government to remedy the situation. So far, there has been very little effort to address the issue of youth emigration or provisions put in place to encourage our emigrant’s home.
“We must be mindful of what demographic changes have in hold for Ireland and use these Census figures as a warning that something needs to be done. If not, we are sleepwalking into a serious social and economic catastrophe.”