Fianna Fáil Senator Marc Mac Sharry says the latest economic data from the CSO is further confirmation that the economic recovery is not happening in the North West. Despite claims from the Taoiseach and senior Ministers that there has been an increase in jobs but the figures from the CSO reveal a rise in the unemployment rate in the Western region from 10.9% in 2014 to 11.6% in 2015 with 8,000 more people now out of work.
Senator MacSharry commented, “These figures reveal what I have been saying for some time. While a recovery may be underway in Dublin, it is not being felt across the country. Only recently we have had job losses Elanco pharma plant in Sligo and there are now concerns about the future of jobs at the State Veterinary Lab following a Department of Agriculture review which recommended a more centralised model, which would lead to the closure of the site in Sligo.
“This Government has done little to secure investment for this region, and in fact has been chipping away at important supports that are essential to rural and farming communities in the North West. There were 359 IDA site visits made across Ireland last year, however there were only 16 visits carried out across Sligo, Leitrim, Donegal and Cavan. This demonstrates very clearly the Government’s lack of commitment to this region.
“The focus over the last four years has been on high end highly skilled jobs, and while these jobs are important to the country, Ministers have neglected small and medium businesses, which are the lifeblood of many towns and communities across the country. Instead of developing incentives to grow and expand these SMEs, or to even fight their corner when it comes to access to credit, Ministers have chosen to their time wooing multinationals to other parties of the country instead of supporting the regions and growing indigenous enterprise.
“There needs to be a radical rethink of the approach to job creation, particularly here in the North West. The Government has allowed the North West to fall behind the rest of the country in terms of employment and this has to change. Long term unemployment remains high by international standards and is not being addressed adequately. We need to see more engagement with organisations like the IDA and Enterprise Ireland, and I along with my colleagues at local and national level will be pushing for a better and more co-ordinated investment strategy over the next weeks and months”.