Fianna Fáil TD for Sligo-Leitrim Eamon Scanlon says more must be done to create more jobs in the North West and close the urban-rural divide which opened up under the last Government.  The latest employment statistics for the regions reveals the jobs gap widening, with over half of all new created in Dublin.

Deputy Scanlon explained, “Despite the Government spin about falling unemployment stats, the reality here in the North West is that any improvement is happening at an extremely slow pace.  The region is a victim of the two tier recovery and a lack of investment by Fine Gael and Labour over the past five years.  The most up to date figures show that the Border region, including Sligo, has an unemployment rate of 9.2% against the latest national unemployment rate of 7.9%

“The Government has continued to focus its jobs strategy on Dublin and the commuter counties, leaving rural Ireland and the North West behind.  There are serious barriers to job creation in this region that must be urgently addressed including the provision of an adequate rural broadband network and improved transport services.  Without these improvements it will remain difficult to attract foreign direct investment to the region.

“As well as targeting FDI investment, we need to support rural micro-enterprises and rural entrepreneurs, and measures must be put in place to create a fairer playing pitch for rural businesses, which are often more disproportionately affected by rising costs and revenue raising measures than their urban counterparts.

“The North West has been left behind by this and the last Government and these figures reflect the seriousness of the situation.  Unless urgent action is taken, the region will continue to flounder and the recovery will remain Dublin focused”.