Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Government must plan for possible construction downturn

8 January, 2008

Sinn Féin Senator and Spokesperson on Education Pearse Doherty has called on the Government to start adequately planning now for a downturn in the construction sector. Senator Doherty made his comments today after the Higher Education Authority (HEA) repeated what Sinn Féin has been saying for a long time, that men working in the construction sector are at risk of unemployment in a downturn because of low education levels.

The HEA highlighted the fact that up to 80,000 workers in the sector have only secondary level education.

Senator Doherty said, "As the construction industry continues to slow down the Government has put nothing in place to help the thousands of workers who face losing their jobs.

"The statement from the HEA today highlights a crucial fact - many of these workers do not have any education beyond second level, something which is not compatible to the kind of research and development economy we should be aiming to develop in this state.

"The Government must act now to make sure that every opportunity is made available to these workers to upskill and educate themselves. FÁS in particular have a huge role to play in this and should be provided with the resources to do so.

"Whatever resources that are needed to enable people to go to college or take on alternative apprenticeships or training, must be made available. The cost of paying social welfare to thousands if the sector takes a more serious downturn would only amount to this kind of cash outlay after the fact and would do nothing to prevent the sort of depression that will descend on this state if jobs begin to go. The opportunity must be seized to improve our economy." ENDS

Connect with Sinn Féin