Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane has called on the Government to urgently address the dangerously high levels of unemployment in the city and county.
Senator Cullinane said that the Southeast is being left behind and neglected despite promises from the Government that much more needs to be done.
He said other regions and cities were moving ahead while Waterford is left fighting for survival.
Speaking today Senator Cullinane said:
“At the very highest level in Government it is recognised that Waterford and the Southeast are lagging behind other regions. Dublin, Cork and Galway are moving forward with more jobs being created than lost. The reverse is the case for Waterford. From 2008 to 2012 the number of IDA and Enterprise Ireland supported jobs created was 3,422 while jobs lost stood at 6,722 – a net loss of 3,300.
“We also learned last week that from 2007 to 2014 Waterford Regional Hospital has lost 306 full time jobs including over 130 nursing posts. This is the equivalent of the closing of a big factory. These job losses also impact on patient care at Waterford Regional Hospital.
“We need a suite of inter-agency interventions delivered for Waterford. Today I have written to the Taoiseach and the Minister for Enterprise and Jobs Richard Bruton asking for the urgent implementation of the South East Economic Development Strategy (SEEDS Report).
“The strategy’s main recommendations include:
• The implementation of a joined up Economic Development Strategy for the Southeast with Waterford City as the key economic driver
• The establishment of a regional IDA office with a regional director based in Waterford City
• A level of the playing field to ensure that Waterford City and County has the same IDA Regional Grant Aid as Galway City.
• The Establishment of a Technological University of the Southeast with baseline Research and Development Funding.
• A strategy to improve educational attainment and skills provision in the region
• The development of Waterford Regional Airport
• Investment in the roll out of dark fibre network (Broadband) in the city and county
• A development plan for the Port of Waterford
• The development of key strategic sites such as Belview and Knockhouse to help attract FDI jobs to the region
• Greater support for SME’s and the freeing up of NAMA properties such as the Michael Street site to help rejuvenate the city.
“All of these supports and more are necessary. If we do not act quickly we will allow a city and a region to decay further and make it much more difficult to recover. The problems in the Southeast are as much national as they are regional and require a national response.”