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CSO figures highlight construction slowdown – Government must respond

15 January, 2008

Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment Arthur Morgan has called on the Government to respond to figures released from the CSO this week which reveal that employment in the construction industry in November was down by 5.4% by comparison with November 2006.

Morgan said the figures were taken in a period when the Government was denying that the sector was slowing down. He added that it must face up to facts and start planning alternative employment for people in construction.

Deputy Morgan said today, "Last week the Higher Education Authority highlighted the fact that 80,000 men are at risk of losing their jobs in this industry and that the majority of them have only second level education.

"Sinn Fein has called for the Government to immediately implement training and upskilling for people in this sector. These figures reveal that there is down-turn - something everybody, including the Government, knew was bound to happen. You cannot maintain an economy on a sector as transient as construction. But instead of planning for the eventuality, the Government turned a blind eye to the problem and described all those who pointed it out as economic pessimists.

"We have a crisis on our hands and we need the Government to solve it. Instead we have a Taoiseach, too busy defending himself every day in the papers over financial allegations, to keep his eye on the ball and a front bench falling over itself to keep him and themselves in power. They would serve themselves and the public better if they did the job they were elected to do and worked on a solution to prevent up to 80,000 people from becoming unemployed." ENDS

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