29 July 2012 Edition
Unemployment out of control
More than 50% out of work in some areas | 81 wards have greater than 35% unemployment rate
Dessie Ellis said Government TDs have been more interested in serving speculators and bankers than their people ‘and this unfortunately continues to the present day’
UNEMPLOYMENT rates in some local areas across the 26 Counties have exceeded 50% for the first time in decades.
In what is a damning indictment of the Government’s ongoing failure to tackle the jobs crisis, there are now 81 unemployment blackspots where more than 35% of people are out of work. On top of this, nine people are emigrating from the state every hour – that’s more than 70,000 people annually.
The Census 2011 and the first Quarterly Household Review of this year puts the unemployment rate at 19%, far higher than the 14.9% ‘official’ Government figure. The discrepancy between the two is down to a number of factors, including the Government’s figures not considering those on training schemes or the ‘work full-time for €50-a-week’ JobBridge programme to be out of work. A further 6% of people describe themselves as ‘underemployed’.
Michael Taft, economist with the Unite trade union, described the figures as an “obscenity”, saying it is “an indictment of successive government policies that such a situation can arise where more than one in three people can be unemployed in an area”. Taft said the figures show the need for an urgent and sustained response from the Fine Gael/Labour Government. “This calls for resources, investment and, most of all, jobs – whether that is jobs in the market or useful work provided by the state in conjunction with social and community organisations. The over-riding priority is to get people back in the economy.”
Speaking to An Phoblacht following the publication of the figures that showed five areas of Dublin North-West on the unemployment blackspot list, Sinn Féin TD for the area Dessie Ellis said: “At first the scale of unemployment here in Dublin North-West is shocking but really it is not surprising given the abject failure of this government to address the unemployment issue. Ballymun and Finglas are two of the most deprived areas in the country and cuts to community services and regeneration projects have badly damaged the local economy.”
Unemployment in Dublin North-West
- Ballymun B – 44%
- Ballymun D – 41.9%
- Finglas North A – 35.7%
- Ballymun C – 35.6%
- Finglas South C – 35.4%
Deputy Ellis pointed out that the constituency has had Government TDs in the area for the past ten years. He says those TDs “have failed to address the problems of the local people, they have failed because they were more interested in serving speculators and bankers than their people and this unfortunately continues to the present day”.
Despite describing the unemployment figures as “far too high”, the Fine Gael/Labour Government announced on 14 July that it would be seeking 4,000 more redundancies from the public sector as it aimed to “move to less labour-intensive service delivery”. This announcement was slammed by unions and opposition parties. Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD said:
“Week in, week out we hear horror stories from our frontline services yet the Government is now talking of a further 4,000 lay-offs in the public sector. If the Government really wants to tackle public sector spending then it should start at the top and tackle the high earners.”
Adams also outlined how a salary cap on public sector wages at the top of €100,000 would save the state €265million. “The Government has choices. Unfortunately, it is making the wrong ones.”