Youth Workers and young people held a symbolic “Forced to Fly” protest outside the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, Mespil Road, Dublin 4, on Tuesday (28th May) at 11.00 a.m. to highlight continued funding cuts to youth services. At the “Forced to Fly” protest organised by SWAN Youth Services, airline tickets were presented to Department officials in a dramatic representation of young people preparing for their flight to unemployment, emigration, depression and addiction.Youth Justice Worker and SIPTU activist, Ashling Golden, said: “The cuts that have already happened in youth services have had a devastating effect and the Government plans to introduce more in the next budget. Vital services for some of the most disadvantaged young people will be further eroded. This will affect projects supporting young people’s physical, mental and emotional development. The cuts will jeopardise the operation of advocacy, education, youth leadership, creative arts and outdoor pursuits programmes to name just a few.”She added: “The SIPTU Youth Workers Committee and SWAN Youth Service are calling on the Minister of Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald, to halt these cuts immediately and invest in young people’s futures instead.”Funding for youth services has been cut by a 29.5% over the last five years and a further €3 million cut is scheduled for 2014. A recent INDECON report commissioned by the National Youth Council of Ireland showed that for every €1 spent of youth services, the state saves €2.22 in the long run.