Fianna Fáil Jobs spokesperson Willie O’Dea TD has said that measures targeted at reducing unemployment will fail to make a meaningful impact and amount to a tinkering around the edges of the Jobs Crisis facing the country. He added that measures aimed at dealing with the Jobs Crisis appear to have been “an afterthought” in today’s budget announcement.

Deputy O’Dea commented, “In his statement today, Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin devoted much of his speech to rhetoric on job creation. He talked of “Pathways to Work”, a “Springboard” initiative, and “Upskilling Measures”. The snappy titles aside, there was nothing offered to back up any of these measures, aside from a vague claim that there will be a strategy next year.

“The only tangible extra funding is €20 million to be provided for a new Labour Market Activation Fund specifically targeted at the long-term unemployed. It is due to provide 6,500 places next year.

“With the number of long term unemployed at almost 180,000 according to the latest CSO figures, it is striking that the Government has nothing to offer the other 173,500 people.

“The 6,500 places is less than the 9,000 jobs to be lost from cuts to the Capital Programme, with labour intensive projects cancelled. It is less than the 37,500 jobs to be lost as part of public sector redundancies. It is less than the thousands of jobs in the retail sector put at risk by the 2% VAT hike.”

Deputy O’Dea concluded: “Fine Gael and Labour successfully campaigned in, and won, the General Election on the basis of a commitment to jobs. They have spent most of their time in office continuing to tell people that they are working on it, but have done precious little to achieve it.”