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Austerity directly contributes to high long term unemployment rate – Lynn Boylan MEP

29 October, 2015 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has highlighted the obstacles that austerity measures place in front of reducing long-term unemployment. The Dublin MEP, a member of the Employment and social Affairs Committee, was speaking as the European Parliament discussed a resolution on the integration of long-term unemployed into the labour market.

Speaking from Strasbourg today, Ms Boylan said: “While the long-term unemployment rate in the south of Ireland has marginally declined over the past year, it has remained stubbornly high, despite the continuing high rates of emigration. We continue to have one of the highest rates of long-term unemployment in the EU, at 5.9% - that’s around 60% of unemployed people in this state.

“Together with youth unemployment, long term unemployment is one of the most serious challenges for policymakers, and I welcome the discussion on this topic in the European Parliament.

“Long-term unemployment has serious and detrimental consequences on both the individuals affected and society more broadly. For affected individuals, it can intensify health problems and lead to increased alienation. It disproportionately affects marginalised groups and is often passed on to the next generation.

The Dublin MEP continued,

“For society more generally, refusing to address this issue can have the effect of ensuring a pool of desperate, cheap and precarious labour is on hand, which of course lowers working conditions and standards across the board.

“The impact of long-term unemployment on job-seekers poses specific challenges that need to be addressed - including the provision of sustained and tailored services to assist job-seekers find work, and improved training and education services that are directly targeted and accessible to the long-term unemployed.”

Ms Boylan said it was “abundantly clear is that the Government’s exploitative, punitive and totally discredited labour activation schemes such as Job Bridge have failed to address the issue of long-term unemployment.

“It is also clear that the highest rates of long-term unemployment can be found in the states where austerity measures are in place. Together with improving access to education and employment services, the Government needs to act to create more jobs.

“An end to austerity measures and the introduction of effective job creation policies - specifically investment in public services such as the health service – is what this Government needs to implement to seriously address this issue.

“While I welcome the fact that the European Parliament is discussing this issue, the resolution fails to address the impact of austerity and the lack of job creation policies. Without dealing with this elephant in the room, we will never solve this problem.” ENDS

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