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Empathy and smooth words will not solve jobs crisis in Waterford – Cullinane

28 September, 2011

Speaking during a private members debate in the Seanad on job losses in the Southeast Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane said empathy and smooth words will not solve the problems faced by Waterford.

He said immediate, realistic and deliverable proposals must be brought forward by the government to deal with the jobs crisis in Waterford and the Southeast.

Senator Cullinane tentatively welcomed a commitment from the Minister to consider reviewing legislation to extend the 30 day termination notice employers are currently obliged to give to workers.

Speaking during the debate Senator Cullinane said:

“My home city of Waterford is hurting. We have recently lost 575 jobs in Talk Talk. Since 2009 we have lost jobs in Waterford Crystal and the Foundry, ABB Transformers; Teva Pharmaceuticals and GlaxoSmithKline in Dungarvan. Many other manufacturing jobs were lost, as well as jobs in the construction and retail sectors.

“Waterford is not alone. There are just under half a million people on the live register. Of these are 88,800 young people. We are told that 40,000 people are expected to emigrate this year. These are staggering statistics. Behind them are communities with their hearts wrenched out. Families and their children cast into poverty. I know this as I see it every day.

“I welcome this debate to highlight the very real problems facing our workers. The shabby way the Talk Talk employees were treated is disgraceful and reprehensible. However we must not cry crocodile tears. If the government agrees with this then they should change the legislation to compel companies to give 90 days notice. I welcome a commitment from the Minister to consider my amendment calling for this.

“We can all empathise with the employees of the Talk Talk. However empathy and smooth words will not put food on the table. It is a case of tea, biscuits and sympathy for Waterford while the bankers get away with the money. We need to get people into employment, to create jobs and opportunities. Inaction is not good enough.

“This government is giving €700 million to pay an un-guaranteed bond in Anglo, and yet only invests €29m of the Jobs Initiative is allocated to labour activation measures. That single bond payment would go to addressing many of the needs articulated in this chamber. It would go some way to stimulate the Waterford economy and create employment in the Southeast. We need to get our priorities right.”

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