News & Media

Full employment has not been achieved by Fine Gael

5 October 2019

Statement by Brendan Howlin TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Northern Ireland

Speaking in advance of Budget 2020, the leader of the Labour Party, Brendan Howlin TD, noted that unemployment is over 6% in four regions, including over 8% in the South East, and called for more government action to foster job growth, especially outside the main urban centres.

Deputy Howlin said:

“While the economic crisis has passed, we still do not have full employment in Ireland. Many regions have over 6% unemployment, and unemployment is highest — at 8% — in my own region of the South East. In addition, a quarter of those in part-time roles want more hours, and one in four workers is low paid. 

“Even if Brexit wasn’t an immediate challenge, the government should still be investing more in the difficult last steps to achieve genuine full employment, which means suitable occupations for the 130,000 people who are currently unemployment, especially over 50,000 people who have been looking for work for over a year. 

“Labour wants to see money set aside in case of a sudden hard Brexit. But we also want to see more capital investment to foster regional growth, such as in the long-planned University of the South East. We also want to see investment in long-term Community Employment schemes, direct employment by local authorities and more opportunities to work in the community and voluntary sector. Now that the economy is on a sure foundation, we should make getting to full employment the next social challenge. A good job is the best route out of poverty. Everyone who is able to work should be able to find a suitable job that pays a living wage.”