Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs Dara Calleary has described as ‘shocking’ the rise of over 5,100 in the number of people out of work for more than a year, and has called for an urgent statement from the Government on the matter.
He was commenting on the latest CSO figures revealing that the numbers in long-term unemployment humped by 5,145 during May. The figures also show a significant slow-down in the rate of employment growth, with the numbers on the Live Register falling by 2,300 in the first 5 months of this year compared to 3,100 in the last six months of 2013. The rate of decline in May was the slowest it has been in a year.
Deputy Calleary commented, “It is time for the Government to realise that their jobs strategy is leaving far too many people behind. In towns and villages across the country there is a generation of people who feel cut off from the labour market. We need a new approach now with a specific focus on the barriers that are stopping these people from getting work.
“Never has Ireland’s two-tiered recovery been more obvious than right now, as one of the largest employers in the South East threatens widespread redundancies. The Jobs Minister knew about the impending crisis at Bausch & Lomb in Waterford for months but instead of acting, he just kept it quiet. It’s a further reflection of the lack of focus on job creation in certain parts of the country outside Dublin and the commuter belt. These regional imbalances cannot be allowed to continue.
“The European Commission correctly identified the high cost of childcare and the loss of secondary benefits such as medical cards and rent supplement as significant barriers to employment in this country. This needs to be tackled so that no one is penalised for taking up a job that becomes available. In addition the Family Income Supplement scheme needs to be reformed so that it supports people getting back in to the workplace.
“The Government has announced that they will shortly be receiving €1bn in proceeds from the sale of Bord Gáis. We were promised that half of this will go towards supporting job creation, but we still have no information as to what this will involve and the timeframe. I am calling for a major focus of these funds to be put on employment initiatives that will be targeted at the long term unemployed.”