Tens of thousands of families in Ireland are not feeling the benefits of the economic recovery, according to Donegal Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher.
The Leas Cheann Comhairle has said that Ireland’s rate of jobless households demonstrates that recovery is not reaching all of society.
Figures releases this week showed that currently 17.6% of Irish households had no adults of working age in employment. This is slightly above the EU average of 17.3%.
While county-specific numbers are not yet available, Pat the Cope has said the average figure is higher in Donegal.
He put the national figures into context to point out that recovery is not being felt throughout Ireland.
He said: “This is highly visible and evident in rural areas and the entire west of Ireland – the two speed recovery continues with many areas struggling to see the benefits of the recovery.
“Jobless households are a clearer indicator of the recovery than the top line figures of employment creation as it provides a barometer of the strength and broad nature of the jobs recovery.
He added: “The relatively high rate of jobless households in Ireland is deeply concerning. The figures underscore that significant problems remain to be overcome when you look beyond the main headline employment figures.
“While the Government did launch the ‘Action Plan on Jobless Households’ last September, the pace at which they are tackling this issue remains far too slow. There is no real sense of urgency from the Government in wanting to meet this challenge head on.
“The response has been far too sluggish to date and there is a failure to recognise the extent of the problem by some Government representatives who seem to be carried away with the headline figures rather than the broader underlying problems with rural employment.”
“Fine Gael have been in Government for seven years now and despite their constant spin on employment, the fact of the matter is that 253,000 of relevant households are deemed to be without a job. This tells a different story to the one continuously trotted out and spun out by Fine Gael Ministers on the airwaves.
“The household unemployment rate in Donegal is above the national average and I am awaiting further data from the department on this issue.
“It is essential that the ‘Action Plan on Jobless Households’ delivers. The Government needs to prioritise this issue and deal with it accordingly. We can’t tolerate a situation where tens of thousands of households are effectively living on the margins of society. It’s clear that the Taoiseach’s ‘Republic of Opportunity’ is far from being realised when these statistics are considered in hard reality of 17.6% of household unemployment,” concluded Pat the Cope.