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Spring Statement gives little hope of emigrants returning to work – Ó Clochartaigh

29 April, 2015

Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has called for a debate on the barriers to emigrants returning to work in Ireland. Speaking in the Seanad this morning, the party Diaspora spokesperson said:

 “Michael Noonan tells us that his taxation measures will encourage emigrants to return home, this is rubbish. The number of new graduates emigrating is higher than at any time in the previous six years. It is worth noting emigrants have identified four key barriers to their return; poor infrastructure, precarious working conditions and low pay, lack of career opportunities, and progression and a lack of affordable housing. There is nothing in today’s announcement that addresses any of these barriers in a meaningful way

“Noonan tells us that our young emigrants are coming back, but the facts tell a different story. There are 60,900 less people aged between 20 and 34 in employment since Labour and FG took up office (in employment figures for this age group fell by 14,000 in 2014 alone)

“The government’s employment target figures do not include any provision for returning emigrants, and seem to assume that Ireland’s labour force will not increase.  

“Rural areas have been particularly hit by the scourge of emigration as a result of the government’s austerity policies. Employment in the West has fallen by 4,800 in the year to December 2014, and by 5,000 in the South West. The numbers in employment in the Border region has fallen by 1,300 since Labour and Fine Gael took up office in 2011. New job creation is concentrated in and around urban centres and despite all their talk government have yet to deliver a detailed plan for regional job creation.

“Last year, Enterprise Ireland created just 5,442 net new jobs and the IDA just 7,131. In his statement the Finance Minister confirmed that the IDA has not increased its job creation targets for the next 5 years with a net increase planned of just 7,000 jobs annually, while there 350,000 people currently on the live register.

“Under this government’s watch, low paid insecure work is now entrenched in Ireland’s labour market; this was not the case prior to the crisis.

“Ireland also has one of the highest rates of underemployment in the EU and of low pay in the OECD countries.

“Over the last 4 years we have seen significant industrial unrest in the private sector, particularly in sectors where low pay is prevalent. The Finance Minister gave a nod to the construction sector, many of whom had to emigrate and want to return. Yet we know the abuse of this particularly vulnerable cohort of workers is rife in the sector including on state funded projects and this cannot be tolerated. 

“Fine Gael and Labour have deepened economic and income inequality in Ireland, they are creating decision in Irish society that will take decades to reverse.

“Their Spring Statement does very little to truly support emigrants who wish to return home to work.” 

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