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ESRI report highlights failure to tackle long-term unemployment - Quinlivan

16 December, 2016 - by Maurice Quinlivan TD

The Sinn Féin spokesperson for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Maurice Quinlivan TD today called on the Government to tackle the issue of long term unemployment.  Speaking following the publication of the ESRI’s Quarterly Economic Commentary for Winter 2016 Deputy Quinlivan said:

 “The ESRI report shows that while the rate of long-term unemployment has declined this year, falling from 5% in Quarter 3 of 2015 to 4.2% in the same  2016, long-term unemployment remains a huge issue.

“Long-term unemployment now accounts for 52 per cent of total unemployment compared to 54.1 per cent in Q3 2015.

“While I welcome the decline the fact remains that long-term unemployment continues to account for over 50 percent of total unemployment.

“The ESRI Report notes that the characteristics of those who are long-term unemployed may result in a slowdown in the fall in the unemployment rate going forward.  

“Over seventy percent of the long-term unemployed are males and over two-thirds are aged between 25 and 54, with almost 50 percent aged between the aged of 25 and 44.

“What is striking in the data is that 70% of those defined as long-term unemployed have a Leaving Certificate or lower qualification and that 42% have been out of work for eight years.    

“Conversely those who have been employed at some stage in the past eight years were primarily employed in construction, followed by wholesale and retail.

“These figures highlight the urgent need for a properly managed national apprentice scheme similar to those in operation in other EU countries.

“It is not acceptable for the government to write off whole sections of our population as surplus to the requirements of the labour market.

Seven of the country’s top 10 unemployment blackspots are in Limerick.  Regeneration areas in the city such as St Mary’s Park have a 57% unemployment rate; O’Malley Park and Keyes Park are at 55%; while in Moyross  Carew Park and Kincora Park the rate is 47%.

In Limerick 18 electoral divisions were classed as “unemployment blackspots”, which is “twice as many unemployment blackspots as any other part of the country”. The average unemployment rate for these areas is 43%.

“I am calling on Minister Mitchell O’Connor who has responsibility for Jobs and her colleague Leo Varadkar in Social Protection to stop sitting on their hands on this issue.

“We need serious and targeted action to ensure long-terms unemployed people have the skills and training to enable them to participate in the labour market”.

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