Fianna Fáil Jobs Spokesperson Dara Calleary has welcomed the fall in the unemployment rate but has warned the Government that it cannot continue to focus all its energy in creating jobs in Dublin at the expense of the regions.
Deputy Calleary explained, “This morning we had a third Government launch in seven days around a Jobs Action Plan. However, the latest stats from the CSO reveal that over 50% of the jobs created here in the last 12 months were concentrated in the Greater Dublin Area. Only 3% of new jobs were in the Mid-West and Mid East Regions, with 8% in the Border region. The West has fared the worst, losing 1,700 jobs in the last year. This Dublin-centred policy is not sustainable and more efforts must be made to bring about balanced regional development. Minister Bruton has rolled out his regional Action Plan for Jobs, which are pie in the sky ideas, without any specifics or targets, and in fact are more about spin than substance.
“Last week, the Government launched Enterprise 2025 – another PR stunt which was all about optics without any of the detail. I’ve lost count of the number of times the Action Plan for Jobs has been rolled out, while no tangible action has actually been taken to address the divide that is widening between Dublin and the rest of the country.
“The Government is also failing to capitalise on the educated talent pool that we have here. It’s estimated that in the 12 months to April 2015, nearly 40,000 third level graduates emigrated from our shores. In fact, since 2011 around 149,000 graduates have emigrated reflecting the outflow and erosion of our qualified skills base. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate for young people remains unacceptably high, with one in five people under the age of 25 without a job.
“Instead of high spec launches, the Taoiseach and Jobs Minister would be better served on developing targeted strategies to improve youth and regional employment”.