The Government’s claims of significant progress being made in tackling the jobs crisis do not stack up against clear evidence that Fine Gael and Labour have failed to deliver, according to Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs Dara Calleary.
Deputy Calleary was responding to the Government new focus on job creation which the Taoiseach says will be “relentless.”
Deputy Calleary said: “I think a lot of people will be extremely angry to hear the Taoiseach talking about a new effort to tackle the unemployment crisis facing thousands of people. Over two years ago came into office promising to create 100,000 net new jobs by 2015. Today’s announcement that it will take 75,000 long-term unemployed off the Live Register and that the economy is creating 2,000 jobs a month is completely undermined by its own data.
“The figure of 20,000 additional jobs in the Quarterly National Household Survey over the past year greatly overstates the trend in employment growth. The reality is the growth that we have seen has been limited to part-time jobs and self-employment. According to the CSO the largest rates of increase were recorded in the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (+19.5% or 15,700). This is nearly three-quarters of the overall increase.
“When you look at the detail the Government’s case comes apart at the seams. The 20,500 increase in employment is made up of a 3,700 drop in full time jobs and a 24,200 increase in part-time jobs. Within those figures there was a drop of 3,300 in the number self-employed workers with paid employees and an increase of 15,800 in the number of self-employed without employees.
“There has been a big increase in the number of people working part time who are underemployed from 145,000 to 155,000. In many cases they would like to work more but can’t get additional hours. This issue is not being addressed by the Government.
“The Government is talking about stimulating the construction sector but the reality is there has been a fall of 7,000 in the number of people employed in construction and the Government continues to slash the capital budget, down 25% in the first four months of the year.
“The Taoiseach has also made the outrageous statement that the Government wants to demonstrate that work can actually pay. If that’s the case then why did Fine Gael and Labour abolish the PRSI allowance at a cost of €260 to both someone on €20,000 and someone on €200,000. Of course I welcome the fact that the Government will now ‘relentlessly’ focus on tackling the jobs crisis and tackling unemployment but they should start by looking at the decisions they have taken that are actually barriers to job creation.”