Ireland’s long-term unemployed now account for almost half of the country’s dole queues, despite the number of new people signing on stabilising.
Figures from the Central Statistics Office show that moves to prevent yet more people falling into the unemployment poverty trap are starting to show signs of succeeding.
According to the independent body, Ireland’s live register rose by 200 people during May — a further indication of stability returning to the country’s jobs market.
The seasonally adjusted figures show there are 436,700 people on the dole — the equivalent of 14.3% of the population, the same rate as in April.
The number of men signing on has fallen by 3.3% since the start of the year, to 278,763, while the number of women has increased by 1% to 154,144.
However, despite the stabilisation in the number of new unemployed, the difficulties facing their long-term equivalents are continuing to deepen.
According to the CSO, there are 188,729 people on the live register who have been out of work for more than a year.
This category’s male and female rates rose by 4.6% and 13.7% respectively between January and the end of this month, an overall 12,395-person, or 7%, rise.
The Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed said that those in the long-term dole queue now account for 43.5% of all unemployed people in Ireland.
“An ambitious integrated supports and jobs strategy is urgently required to facilitate people who are long-term unemployed to get a decent job,” said the group’s head of policy and media, Bríd O’Brien.
At the INOU’s annual delegate conference last Friday, delegates called on the Government to provide “realistic investment in job creation of at least €1bn to fulfil Irish citizens’ right to livelihood, as per Article 45 of the Constitution”.
“The daily reality of struggling to survive on a social welfare payment is one that INOU affiliates and members are keenly aware of,” said Ms O’Brien.
Between January and May, the number of under 25s unemployed fell by 10.3%, following a similar trajectory for every month since Jul 2010.
However, this figure should be seen in terms of the number of young people choosing to emigrate for short or long lengths of time due to the ongoing difficulties in the Irish jobs market.
Meanwhile, Social Protection Minister Joan Burton has called for a pan-European structural fund to help retrain those out of work, particularly Ireland’s many unemployed construction workers.
Ms Burton said a yes vote in today’s fiscal treaty referendum would helpbring this about. “This country benefited enormously from structural funds. We need, throughout Europe, a structural funds-type pact that will actually assist us in retraining people,” she said.
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