Una Mullally: Why youth won’t play along with the ‘recovery’

This generation knows emigration and high rents – and sees protest as form of expression

What happens when a generation does not put self-interest first? This is, after all, a generation of straight people who canvassed for their LGBT peers, and a generation of young men who marched for young women’s reproductive rights. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

What happens when a generation does not put self-interest first? This is, after all, a generation of straight people who canvassed for their LGBT peers, and a generation of young men who marched for young women’s reproductive rights. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Does the Government know it has a politicised generation on its hands? A generation for whom going to a protest is as natural as going to a match or a gig? A burgeoning housing movement shows that for young people in Ireland, social change is not going to stop at what conservatives flimsily label “identity politics”.

Why are young people in Ireland, in the midst of a so-called “recovery”, not playing along? A generational shift has occurred that both the political and media establishments have not yet truly grasped. The large social movements – where the bulk of foot soldiers were young – that fought for and won marriage equality and legal abortion in this country were not one-offs. We are in newly charted territory, and young people are the cartographers. 

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