21 November 2018
By Bryan Smyth
Two-tier recovery must be addressed head on otherwise rural Ireland will continue to suffer
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Business, Enterprise & Innovation Billy Kelleher (TD in Cork North Central) has said that the planned Future Jobs programme cannot be another of the Government’s attempts at optical illusions, but must urgently address the two-tier recovery and regional employment imbalances.
Deputy Kelleher was commenting after the latest CSO data showed that the two-tier recovery that Fianna Fáil has consistently raised is continuing, and in fact, is getting worse.
“In the 12 months to the end of September 2018, a total of 66,700 jobs were created in the country. This is good news, but there is a worrying trend emerging.
“Alarmingly, Dublin accounted for nearly half of total employment gains and the Greater Dublin Area accounting for over 60%. This is clear, unambiguous evidence that the two-tier recovery is still being experienced by regional and rural Ireland.
“The over concentration of job growth in the Greater Dublin Area must spare a change in tact by Minister Humphreys and the rest of the Government.
“The European Commission has also confirmed this two-tier model when it reported that with ‘regional imbalances across the country remain in investment, economic growth, competitiveness and innovation.’
“The Future Jobs summit, taking place today ahead of the formal launch of the programme in the New Year, must be meaningful. It must also address the continual level of underemployment with 111,500 workers underemployed (part-time workers who would like to have full-time work, who wish to transition from less secure jobs.
“Of course, the continuing drop in the unemployment rate is welcome, looking solely at the top level figures and ignoring the regional imbalance is short sighted and harmful to thousands of communities up and down the country.
“A real, targeted plan to provide sustainable employment opportunities to vulnerable groups in accessing the jobs market like younger job seekers and women, as well as those seeking employment outside of the GDA, must be the priority for Government,” concluded Kelleher.