Fianna Fáil’s Spokesperson on Border Region Development Brendan Smith has said it’s extremely disappointing that unemployment in the border region has increased, despite the drop in unemployment nationally.

“I welcome the fact that the unemployment rate nationally has now fallen to 13%. However unemployment in the border region, which includes Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim and Louth, has actually increased to 15.2%. That’s up from 14.6% this time two years ago,” said Deputy Smith.

“The reality is that the vast majority of job creation is in Dublin and Cork. Meanwhile Cavan, Monaghan and the entire border region continues to suffer a deepening jobs crisis. This region seems to be consistently overlooked for investment and the Government is content to just ignore the problem.

“While the overall national employment figures revealed by the CSO this week are certainly encouraging, the Government cannot continue to stand idly by as the border region is left behind. Border counties face particular challenges when it comes to job creation, supporting small businesses, boosting consumer activity in our towns. There are still more than 12,700 people on the Live Register in Cavan and Monaghan, and thousands more have been forced to emigrate for work or seek further education or training.

“We need a specific, targeted strategy on tackling the deepening jobs crisis in the border region. There is no room for complacency on this issue. Earlier this week the Government held a self-congratulatory press conference, praising themselves for their ‘success’ on job creation. But towns and villages across the border region will struggle to see the benefit of that success.

“The Government must resist the temptation to sit back and bask in self-praise. They must recognise the very real crisis we are still facing, and start to take real action to support local small businesses and to attract investment to the border region.”