The latest employment figures published by the Central Statistics Office earlier today indicate that while overall unemployment is falling, youth unemployment remains an issue.

Fianna Fáil South Dublin County Councillor and Dún Laoghaire General Election candidate, Cormac Devlin commented, “The latest unemployment indicators are largely positive, however, youth unemployment still stands well above pre-crisis levels at 11.9%.

“During Party Leader, Michéal Martin’s recent visit to Dún Laoghaire, the shortage of labour was raised as a matter of concern by almost every business owner we met while out and about.

“These employers cannot get qualified staff to work in their businesses, in many instances the shortage of staff is preventing their expansion – the construction and service sectors are particularly affected.

“The unemployment rate among Under 25-year-old females at 9.7% is declining more steadily than that of their male counterpart which is currently 13.8%. Given these levels of youth unemployment, barriers to employment still clearly exist for some young people in Ireland.

“I believe this Government must review the effectiveness of the “Pathways to Work” scheme – it is evident that it is not adequately addressing the needs of young jobseekers.

“The forthcoming Budget offers an opportunity to introduce an effective initiative such as a new work experience programme to address youth unemployment and must be prioritised.

“The State has an absolute obligation to support young job seekers facing a struggle to enter the workforce by providing them with an opportunity to acquire skills and qualifications in a constructive environment,” he concluded.