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Ferris highlights Kerry jobs crisis

29 January, 2009 - by Martin Ferris TD

Speaking following the Dáil debate on the economy today Kerry North Sinn Féin TD martin Ferris advocated redirecting some of the resources targeted through the IDA at foreign business back into the domestic sector. Deputy Ferris pointed to the success of the LEADER project in identifying indigenous enterprises that are both profitable and sustainable.

He said, "In common with all other parts of the country Kerry has experienced a massive increase in unemployment over the past year or so. The numbers signing on jumped from 7,288 in December 2007 to 12,364 for last month. That represents a percentage increase of 70%, mirroring a similar increase over the state as a whole.

"The impact has been particularly felt in the bigger towns. There are now over 5,000 people signing on in Tralee which is a massive figure for a town of its size. Likewise Listowel has seen 1,100 people added to the live register and 1,000 have lost their jobs in Killarney. And of course towns close to Kerry in Limerick such as Abbeyfeale have also suffered major losses in particular the recent announcement of the redundancies at Kostal.

"However, Kerry along with a number of other western counties such as Donegal and Mayo already had levels of unemployment well above the national average even during the last years of the relatively good times. That has meant that the more recent job losses have exacerbated what was already a bad situation and contributed to a worsening situation with regard to all of the social consequences of unemployment as it impacts on the community and on individual families.

"While there are obviously no easy solutions to the current crisis, we should perhaps to looking more to our own resources. I have referred previously to the point that has been made by people in my own county in regard to the success of LEADER. In their submission to the report I have prepared for the Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Tuatha Chiarrai Teoranta made the point that while 21% of those in employment in Kerry are working in IDA supported firms, that LEADER supported enterprises actually employ more people in the county and have a 70% success rate. A figure that is even more remarkable given that LEADER does not take in the whole of the county.

"What is interesting about the evidence regarding LEADER supported enterprises is that it would appear to have succeeded in identifying indigenous enterprise that is not only effective in providing jobs and obviously profits but is for the most part sustainable. That clearly points to the opportunity that exists in promoting such enterprises on a wider scale and perhaps shifting some of the resources targeted through the IDA at foreign business into the domestic sector. Particularly at a time when there are grave concerns over the security of many of the jobs currently in foreign owned businesses and especially those most vulnerable to the current financial crisis." ENDS

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