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Unemployment: The Only Growth Industry in Ireland

11/01/11

Unemployment continues to growThe massive rise in unemployment in the Twenty-Six Counties as indicated by the publication of last week’s Central Statistics Office live register figures for December has been described by éirígí chairperson Brian Leeson as “a clear indictment of the failed economic model and evidence that the imposition of the Dublin government/IMF austerity programme is severely deflating the economy”.

The CSO report shows that an additional 5,200 people signed on the live register in December, a weekly rate of 1,040, bringing the number of unemployed in the Twenty-Six Counties up to a total of 440,000. The rate of unemployment now stands at 13.4 per cent, which represents an increase of almost 200 per cent on the same period in 2007.

These figures, however, do not take account of the hundreds of job losses that have already been announced in the first weeks of 2011 or the thousands of young people who have been forced to emigrate in recent months to try and secure employment abroad. Indeed, the cynical and vicious cuts to jobseekers payments for under-25s sent a clear message to young people that they should seek their future elsewhere. Currently, those under 25 years receive dole payments of between €100 [£83] and €144 [£120]. In addition, the 12 per cent reduction in the minimum wage rate to €7.65 [£6.36] per hour will adversely affect young people.

Hundreds of thousands of workers now face into a bleak year ahead with little prospect of securing employment and having to survive on significantly reduced welfare payments.

Meanwhile, the increasingly barmy Twenty-Six County minister for ‘social protection’ Éamon Ó Cuív has blamed the weather for the record job losses and suggested that the 5,000 work for free jobs, or as his department likes to call it, Skills Development and Internship Programme will resolve the endemic jobs crisis.

There has been a marked contrast in approaches which demonstrates the priorities of the ruling class; the zeal with which the Dublin government acted in bailing out the wealthy should be measured against its abject failure to tackle the unemployment crisis. Just prior to Christmas, Brian Lenihan snuck into the High Court and, during a secret hearing, ploughed a further €3 billion [£2.5 billion] into Allied Irish Bank. Weeks previously, he stood up in Leinster House to publicly announce cuts of almost €1 billion [£0.8 billion] in social welfare.

It is clear that working class people in the Twenty-Six County state are being sacrificed in order to protect the profits of the wealthy; a class that continues to amass vast sums of wealth, in many cases by actually leasing social welfare offices to the state, as with property developer Bernard McNamara.

Brian LeesonCathaoirleach éirígí Brian Leeson said: “While Éamon Ó Cuív may bizarrely seek to shift the blame for this catastrophic situation on to the inclement weather, the fact is that workers in the Twenty-Six Counties are paying the price for the criminal bail out of the private banking system and the maintenance of the privileged lifestyle of parasitic property developers.

“It is increasingly clear that the imposition of a savage four-year austerity programme will further deflate the economy and add to the growing numbers of unemployed.”

Leeson added: “The IMF deal must be scrapped and that discredited organisation removed from the country, otherwise thousands more will be driven into poverty and emigration. We need to invest in jobs and public services, not failed banks and social parasites.”

 

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