Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation Dara Calleary has welcomed the increased employment figures published today by the CSO but says rural Ireland is being left behind as a result of the Government’s urban focused policies.
Deputy Calleary commented, “While I of course welcome increased employment, these figures come in the wake of the Department of Finance’s shocking admission that the “economic recovery in Ireland has been uneven across the country, with the recovery thus far primarily concentrated in Dublin and other urban areas”.
“Government Ministers have embarked on a PR crusade boasting of increased employment under their much heralded Action Plan for Jobs. While the creation of any new jobs is welcome, it is important that the recovery is spread right across the country, and unfortunately that simply is not the case.
“The Department of Finance’s admission that an unequal two tier recovery is taking hold in Ireland reinforces recent data indicating that the majority of all jobs created in 2014 were in Dublin and the commuter belt region. This disproportionate concentration in non-rural areas affirms that Government policy is skewed toward an unbalanced regional recovery.
“Today’s figures clearly show falling employment numbers in the west of the country, with the number of people in employment dropping from 182,000 last year to 177,000 at the end of March this year, and is further evidence of the Government’s lack of interest in promoting investment outside of the main hubs.
“Despite the headline figures, the labour force numbers have remained static over the past year. This is a cause for concern and is indicative of the continuing tide of emigration. More action is needed to ensure broader job creation possibilities, rather than the continued focus on high end, high skilled positions. This would also address the long-term unemployment rate, which continues to account for 60% of total unemployment. This is high by international standards and calls into question the Government’s strategy for upskilling and retraining”.