Fianna Fáil TD for Waterford, Mary Butler has said that entire communities in Waterford City and County have been forgotten about as new research from the CSO shows that there are nine ‘Unemployment Blackspots’ in the county.

An Unemployment Blackspot is an area where over 27% of the population are not in paid employment.

“The latest Census 2016 data identifies Larchville, Morrison’s Road, Newport’s Square, Lisduggan, Ballybeg North, The Glen, Roanmore, Mount Sion, Kingsmeadow, and as unemployment blackspots, with each of these areas registering unemployment rates of 37.6%, 32.6%, 32.3%, 31.5%, 30.9%, 30.9%, 30.8%, 30%, and 29.3% respectively.

“Across these nine areas, the average unemployment rate is 31.5% compared to a rate of 15.4% for the county as a whole.

“These communities, which have twice the county unemployment rate, have not felt the economic recovery that all too often Fine Gael TDs and Senators trumpet.

“These levels of unemployment are particularly worrying – and are further evidence of the two-tier recovery which Fine Gael has presided over in the last 6 years.

“For the past two years, successive Taoisigh and Ministers for Jobs have said that everything is going as planned, that a recovery is taking hold, and that things are getting easier for our people.

“These nine communities and many more that are just under the 27% threshold haven’t felt any of this success, and are still struggling.

“The Tánaiste, and the new Minister for Jobs, Frances Fitzgerald must address the challenge of unemployment blackspots, such as those in Waterford City and County. It will require a targeted approach, with investment in education and training, to find solutions to this challenge.

“However, what cannot be on the table is leaving it as is, and forgetting about these communities. Fine Gael, over the past six years, have done just that, and it hasn’t worked,” concluded Butler.