Speaking at Sinn Féin's Ard Fheis today, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Enterprise and Jobs, Peadar Tóibín said:
"355,600 people remain on the live register.
Add to this those job activation schemes and those over 65 years old in receipt of a jobseekers payment or credit the number increases to 448, 230 – that’s 20% of the current labour force.
"45% of these are long term unemployed.
"For every new job created under this government’s 5 people have emigrated.
"From the employment figures 60,900 young people aged between 20 and 34 have been deleted by the policies of Fine Gael and Labour, 14,000 left employment just last year.
"The number of new graduates emigrating is higher than at any time in the last six years.
"The West and South West saw employment fall by nearly 10,000 in 2014.
"Employment along the border region in the south is now stagnant, and there are fewer jobs in the Border and Mid-West regions than when the Labour and Fine Gael entered government.
"Low paid insecure work is now entrenchedin the labour force.
"Twenty percent of workers are in casual and part time work.
"Ireland has one of the highest rates of low pay in the OECD, and of underemployment in the EU.
"Half of all workers will earn €25,000 or less this year.
"A recent study found that the lower-middle income and precarious income groups and the self-employed have been squeezed the tightest.
"Government policy is teeing up people in insecure work for mortgage distress.
"Research produced by a wealth of domestic and international bodies, including the OECD and World Bank, highlight the need to reduce economic inequality to protect economic prosperity.
"Yet Fine Gael and Labour plough on regardless, looking after those that have, leaving the rest to pick up the tab.
"Labour and Fine Gael’s record in government is one of deepening economic inequality, a two-tier economy and a hallowing out of decent sustainable jobs.
"Sinn Féin in Government will be the enemy of economic inequality.
"It will not happen overnight, and it will not be easy.
"But it will be right, it will be just and it will be transformative.
"We are ambitious for our people, and for our island.
"Sinn Féin is committed to a unified, prosperous, sustainable and socially-just economy.
"We are not alone in our vision.
"There is a growing movement across Europe challenging the economic orthodoxy of the establishment parties that have failed their people.
"Sinn Féin in Government will address the barriers to balanced regional development, and we will do so with our Ministers in the Assembly.
"Ireland needs a renewed focus on job creation and retention.
"Our strategy will deliver strategic stimulus investment, an opening up of public procurement to indigenous SMEs and microbusinesses; securing and developing Foreign Direct Investment that supports the growth of local enterprise; developing an ambitious ecommerce strategy stemming the flow of online sales out of Ireland; supporting retail and overseeing innovative localised strategies’ to secure the future of our towns and villages.
"There is much work to be done, and we are ready for the challenge.
"Our economies north and south are interdependent, but they are not aligned.
"Full devolution of fiscal powers to the Executive and Assembly and a fully integrated island economy will square the circle.
"In Government it will be our responsibility north and south to deliver a fair recovery, and that is why I commend Motion 73 to this Ard Fheis."