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Government employment figures hide real rate of unemployment crisis – Tóibín

15 January, 2016

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Jobs and Enterprise, Peadar Tóibín TD, has highlighted the extent to which Ireland still suffers from crisis level unemployment, in spite of government announcements to the contrary.

Deputy Tóibín said:

“Every new Job created is good news and we in Sinn Féin welcome the improved figures. But it’s important that we represent the situation clearly and honestly. Ireland is still suffering from crisis level unemployment. 81,000 people are on job activation schemes. These people want a real job with fair wages. Yet the government does not count them as jobseekers.

“On top of this according to the CSO there are another 106,000 who are underemployed. In other words, people with only a few hours work a week who in order to make ends meet want a fulltime job. If you take these 2 groups into account, researchers such as Michael Hennigan from FinFacts have pointed out there is a broad unemployment rate of 19% in the state. All of these do not take into consideration that 145,000 people net have emigrated in the last 6 years.

“My serious concern is that much of the uplift that has happened in the state has been geographically lopsided and has happened due to outside factors outside of our control, such as Quantitive Easing, falling oil prices, low interest rates, favourable exchange rates, and healthy US and British Economies. The internal competitive advantage in this state remains bargain basement corporation tax.

“Our infrastructural stock is depreciating due to falling government investment as a proportion of GDP. Indeed this government’s aim as indicated in the Spring Statement is to achieve the lowest level of government investment in infrastructure in the EU at 1.5% of GDP by 2021. As for the knowledge economy the government has also divested from education at a serious rate over the last five years.

“In contrast to countries such as Denmark and Austria, Ireland has a seriously under developed indigenous sector in terms of size of enterprise and ability to export. 90% of exports emanate from the FDI sector which is vulnerable to external shocks. If the measure of this government is what sustainable indigenous competitive advantage did they foster in 5 years, they have sadly missed real opportunity.”       

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