A CORK TD has called for the development and implementation of a strategy to help young people cope with the challenges presented by the Covid-19 emergency.
Sinn Féin’s Thomas Gould raised the issue with the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone in the Dáil.
The Cork North Central TD said that he feels many young people haven’t been given the attention and support they need.
“The closure of schools, colleges, sports organisations, youth clubs, arts, music, and dance etc. has left a huge void in the lives of our young people. Not being able to socialise with friends, classmates, extended family and especially grandparents has had an enormous effect on them,” he said.
“The government needs to develop a strategy and in turn a plan to support our youth and that plan must be resourced to ensure success,” he added.
Deputy Gould went on to say that young people needed to be given hope as they adjust to the “new reality” adding that he wants them to know they’re being supported.
“It is vital that the government realises the challenges that young people are facing. The Minister needs to engage with all groups and organisations involving young people to develop a plan and a way forward,” he said.
Deputy Gould, who is chair of St Vincents GAA club, said that while the Minister acknowledged the work being done by GAA clubs and other similar organisations, he said it’s not enough.
He told The Echo he’s concerned some young people could go down the wrong path as a result of not having the usual distractions of school and extracurricular activities.
“A lot of people are worried about their children now, especially teenagers. The families who are doing it (lockdown) right and who have stayed away from people, haven’t had access to their friends,” Deputy Gould said.
“The point I made to Minister Zappone is that the Government needs to sit down and talk with all the youth organisations to see is there something we can do right now to engage with young people,” he added.