"Reduced Unemployment figures misleading" - Flanagan
Sinn Féin Enterprise Spokesperson Phil Flanagan MLA (Fermanagh/South Tyrone) responding to the latest unemployment figures commented:
"The latest figures showing a slight fall in unemployment figures should be taken with a large dose of salt. These figures do not reflect the reality or the extent of the effects of the austerity agenda being pursued by both the Irish and British governments. While the figures show a small drop in the numbers claiming benefits they do not take account of the large numbers of people who have been forced to emigrate rather than remain here in unemployment.
"It is important that we do not allow these figures to be used to convey the impression that government austerity measures are having a positive impact. What is required rather than massaging figures and statistics is a focus on investment and a real reduction in unemployment figures through job creation. Youth unemployment in particular needs to be tackled if we are to avoid losing our most talented to emigration.
"The continuing rise in the levels of economic inactivity across all age groups here clearly indicates that the austerity agenda being pursued by both British & Irish governments is not working and is in fact exacerbating the low level of economic activity and inhibiting growth.
"Both governments need to urgently change course, invest resources in capital projects to kick-start economic recovery, create jobs, eliminate poverty and protect public services.
"Such a programme should be funded through a fair and progressive taxation system, with those who can afford to pay, paying more and a spotlight put on ensuring that those who evade and avoid paying tax are brought to book. The burden should not and cannot be borne by the low paid and those dependent on benefits"