Census highlights continued regional imbalance in employment figures – Tóibín
Sinn Féin spokesperson on regional development has expressed his concern regarding the disparity in employment figures in regions across the State.
Deputy Tóibín was responding to the recently published census figures which show that regional cities have disproportionately high numbers of unemployed.
Deputy Tóibín said:
“The census data reveal a worrying trend of continual regional imbalance. Waterford has the highest unemployment rate of cities at 18.8%. A shocking 30.6% rate of unemployment was recorded in Longford. Limerick registered more unemployment blackspots than any other part of the country.
“These figures indicate that Fine Gael’s approach to balanced regional development is falling flat. They also expose the failure of dismal government investment in infrastructure projects outside of the capital.
"The government is rudderless, we are still without a functional overarching planning strategy as we await the much belated National Planning Framework.
“Now with Leo Varadkar at the helm of Fine Gael, we see yet more chaos as regards which responsibilities lie within the various departments. While Minister Ring now has Rural Affairs in his ministry, regional development has simply disappeared. It is no longer in the care of Minister Humphreys. It has simply vanished from high office.
“Clearly balanced regional development is not a matter of importance for this government. The risible ‘Action Plan for Rural Ireland’ was little more than a catalogue of pre-existing measures, doing nothing to tackle deathly slow broadband speeds, critically low investment in infrastructure, lack of employment opportunities in areas such as the west of Ireland and the border.
"These latest figures are just further confirmation that the government’s current approach is simply not working. This is a failure of Fine Gael but also of rural Independent TDs in government and Fianna Fáil who are essentially holding this dysfunctional government in place."