Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs Dara Calleary has raised concerns about the persistent high levels of long-term unemployment and the increase in the number of women who are out of work for over a year.

Commenting on the latest Live Register figures, Deputy Calleary said, “While I welcome the fall in the numbers signing on in April, I am extremely concerned about the number of job seekers that are slipping into long-term unemployment.

“It’s clear from these figures that the long-term unemployed are being left behind in the economic recovery. 178,000 people are on the Live Register for more than a year. While they make up nearly half of all people on the Live Register, the fall in the numbers out of work for over a year accounts for only 26% of the overall reduction over the last twelve months.

“More and more women are falling into long-term unemployment. Over the past year, there has been an increase of nearly 1,000 women who are out of work for over a year.

“These figures underline the fact that the Government is failing to tackle the long-term unemployment crisis. We know that the longer someone is out of work, the harder it is for them to find employment. Being out of work for so long has an enormous impact not just on a person’s finances, but also on their self-esteem and well-being.

“We need a much greater focus on addressing the scourge of long term unemployment. The recent OECD report on the effectiveness of the Action Plan for Jobs should serve as a reminder to the Government of the considerable work outstanding. We need targeted efforts to help disadvantaged groups, like young job seekers, to fund work. We also need much stronger training programmes and a proper apprenticeship system. We also need a review of Labour Activation Programmes as there are concerns that their potential is not being maximised and that the long-term benefits are questionable.

“The Government cannot continue to ignore the fact that far too many job seekers in this country are falling into long-term unemployment every single month. We have a long-term unemployment crisis that will not be tackled by clever PR and self-praise. This crisis requires a targeted and concerted effort by the Government to get people off the Live Register and back to work.”