Fine Gael Kildare South TD Martin Heydon has today (Friday) said that he is continuing to highlight the need for a dedicated Youth Officer for Co. Kildare with Minister for Children Katherine Zappone to ensure that Co. Kildare gets its own Youth Officer as soon as possible and is pleased to hear that her Department is engaging with KWETB on the issue.
“Co. Kildare is currently one of the few Counties in the Country that does not have its own dedicated Youth officer, sharing a post as it does at present with Co. Wicklow. I have been highlighting this need for several months with Minister Katherine Zappone who does recognize the need for increased provision for youth services in Co. Kildare.
“Kildare’s population is one of the fastest growing in the State. According to the 2016 census, the population increased by 5.6% compared with the national average of 3.7%. According to the 2011 census, 28.3% of the population in Kildare is aged 17 and under compared with the national average of 25%. I expect that trend to continue and to be reflected in the full 2016 census results. I have reiterated to the Minister that Kildare is too big a County, with an above average youth population, not to have its own dedicated youth officer.
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Kathryn Zappone has acknowledged the issues raised with which she is familiar following her meetings with representatives from Kildare Youth Services in June and November of last year. She has advised me that her Department is engaging with Kildare & Wicklow ETB with regard to the provision of a full time youth officer for County Kildare and I welcome that confirmation.
“I believe it is imperative given our above average youth population that we have a dedicated youth officer and aim to increase our funding for youth services. I will continue to work with Minister Zappone to ensure this full time position for Co. Kildare is available as soon as possible.
QUESTION NO: 292
DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Dr. Katherine Zappone)
by Deputy Martin Heydon
for WRITTEN ANSWER on 25/01/2017
* To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the status of the provision of a much needed dedicated youth officer for County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
My Department administers a range of funding schemes and programmes to support the provision of youth services to young people throughout the country including those from disadvantaged communities. The funding schemes support national and local youth work provision to some 380,000 young people and involve approximately 1,400 youth work staff in 477 projects and 40,000 volunteers working in youth work services and communities throughout the country. In 2016, funding of €51m was provided to my Department for these schemes. As the Deputy is aware, Budget 2017 has provided an additional €5.5m in current funding to my Department to support the provision of youth services. This will bring the total youth funding in 2017 to €57.4m. This additional funding will be used for programmes that target disadvantaged young people and to assist national youth organisations in their work to support local voluntary youth services. My Department is working with national organisations and local services to identify service development needs for 2017 and to agree the 2017 allocations. Every effort will be made to complete this process as soon as possible.
In 2016, an amount of €500,405 was allocated for the projects and services under Kildare Youth Services, which operates under Youth Work Ireland. My Department provides funding to Kildare Youth Services under the Special Projects for Youth Scheme in respect of six local youth projects in Athy, Naas, Leixlip, Newbridge, the Curragh and Kildare town and a Youth Information Centre in Naas.
I am pleased to inform the Deputy that my Department is currently engaging with Kildare Wicklow ETB with regard to the provision of a full time youth officer for County Kildare. In the interim, the county shares a youth officer with Wicklow, who is very active in both counties.