Unemployment 'Runaway Train' – Labour

After a day of hundreds of recent job losses and damning Live Register figures, Labour have called the unemployment rate a "runaway train".

Willie Penrose, Labours spokesperson on employment has censured the Government's approach, saying there is "absolutely no sense of urgency", following announcements of up to 240 job losses in Cork and Waterford.

The Labour spokesman said that with today’s Live Register Figures showing a further increase to 418,592 it was clear unemployment was becoming a runaway train that threatened to destroy the prospect of economic recovery.

"It is hard to understate the seriousness of these figures. There are now three times more on the Live Register than in 2001.

The numbers have increased by 264,000 since the general election and by 217,336 since Brian Cowen was elected Taoiseach.

"That represents a loss of around 520 jobs for every day that the Taoiseach has held office. Has any Taoiseach or government ever had such a dismal record on unemployment?"

However, the Government Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin has said top priority would be given to the workers affected by the rationalisation of the plant in Cork.

Minister Martin said: "The expected loss of jobs at the Smurfit Kappa plant in Togher is a devastating blow for the workers involved, their families and the wider community.

"I will ensure that the job creation and training agencies of the State offer them every possible support as they seek new employment. In addition workers should be offered opportunities to re-train and up-skill.”

Despite the positive assertions form Minister Martin, the Labour spokesman remained resolute in his concern for the contraction of employment.

Mr Penrose said the cost in terms of lost tax revenue and additional social welfare of the 200,000 who have been added to the live register in the last year amounts to around €4bn, which is close to the €5bn that the McCarthy Group has been asked to identify in cuts in public expenditure.

"It is clear that we will never see economic recovery until we stop the job losses and get the unemployed back to work," he added.


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