As the Deputy is aware my Department, along with all Government Departments, was required to deliver substantial savings on all funding programmes in line with the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure 2012-2014.
In recent years funding for the provision of youth services has increased on an annual basis. Between 2016 and 2019 the annual current youth funding available to my Department has increased from €51.9m to €60.4m. This additional funding is being used for programmes that target disadvantaged young people and to assist national youth organisations in their work to support local voluntary youth services.
In addition, my Department is currently managing the most significant reform of youth services ever undertaken. This will provide an opportunity to identify need and to focus funding on young people most in need of intervention.
I recognise the value of youth work from both a social and an economic viewpoint, so strengthening our investment in youth work makes sense. In this regard, increasing the budget for youth service funding is a key priority for me.