CATHERINE MURPHY ON JOB CREATION & UNEMPLOYMENT
JOB CREATION & UNEMPLOYMENT
Unemployment in Ireland has tripled in the last three years, despite a surge in the flow of emigration overseas.
There are almost half a million people on the Live Register. The last government’s response to the emerging jobs crisis was pitiful.
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Far from introducing special job creation measures, they made the situation much worse through the major cutbacks in public spending which followed from the disastrous decision to bail out Anglo-Irish Bank and repay the foreign bondholders in Irish banks and the subsequent deal with the EU/IMF.
The jobless problem has been exacerbated by the fact that consumers, faced with a constant stream of bad economic news and a government which had lost all control of the situation, opted to save their money for the future rather than spend it.
The top priority of this Dáil must be a major push to create jobs. This should include:
- Renegotiation of the crippling EU/IMF deal in order to allow an expansion of public funding of health and education in particular. This will not only provide jobs but better public services while investing crucially in a healthy and well-educated future workforce.
- Increased emphasis on the establishment and expansion of Irish-owned businesses. While they make an important contribution, we are over-reliant on foreign firms as a source of job creation. We need to promote networks of small firms which share ideas, costs and services.
- Special measures (e.g. dole supplements) which will allow unemployed people with skills to become involved in local community projects. This can boost morale and self-esteem among those who have lost their jobs while providing important community benefits.
We need strong and effective political leadership which can restore consumer confidence and spending. Once things begin to pick up it becomes self-reinforcing. Time-serving and self-serving TDs have lost all public credibility. We need a new brand of principled politician to restore belief in the political system.