Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Dara Calleary TD has stated that the latest data from the Central Statistics Office show the economic recovery is not being spread to all regions. Deputy Calleary has pointed out that the figures show the recovery is being centred in the capital and commuter belt region while the rest of the country continues to suffer.

Deputy Calleary commented, “While I welcome the decrease in overall unemployment, the figures clearly show that the recovery is being centred in the capital and commuter belt region. There has been a decrease in the numbers at work in the Border, Midland, Western and South West regions over the last year. The Government seems to have only recently woken up to this regional imbalance.

“The data shows a worrying decline in labour force participation in 2014 which is now below the critical 60% level. A continuation of this trend would pose long term risks for the economy and its ability to fund public services in the future.

“There has also been a slowing of the rate of jobs growth. While Ministers regularly claim that the country is creating over 1,000 jobs a week, the reality is that less than 600 new jobs were added in 2014.

“For the fourth consecutive quarter, seasonally adjusted figures show the agriculture and forestry sector has suffered employment decline. Considering that this is Ireland’s largest indigenous industry, this will be of particular concern for rural communities and business.