Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs Dara Calleary has said the ‘special’ Cabinet meeting on jobs today cannot be just another PR stunt, but must mark a radical change in direction from the Government on tackling the unemployment crisis.

Deputy Calleary commented, “This meeting must be about far more than just than a PR stunt aimed at taking advantage of the quiet news period after Christmas. The 423,733 people on the Live Register are sick of well-dressed announcements, high profile launches and spin-steeped plans that amount to little in reality. All they want is action that provides them with real opportunities to get back to work.

“If this meeting is in fact about more than just optics, it’s a damning indictment of this Government that it took them nearly two years to realise such a meeting is necessary. It’s clear that the series of repackaged jobs ‘initiatives’ have not worked and that there is not a coordinated approach between Government departments on tackling the crisis. Most worryingly, the rate of long-term unemployment has continued to rise over the past two years with the number of people in long-term unemployment now accounting for 60% of all of those out of work.

“Even as the Cabinet meets today, workers who are being let go at HMV have been forced to stage a sit-in at the stores in Limerick until they get the pay that is owed to them, while staff at a hotel in Athboy Co Meath have also resorted to staging a sitting in. Unfortunately, this story is becoming all too familiar. How many times does this have to happen before the Government realises there is a major issue with the protection of workers at this time?”