Labour Party local election candidate Dermot Looney has said that the government has abandoned unemployed people and those in danger of losing their jobs with the latest local Live Register figures making for grim reading.
Figures made available to Looney from local Labour TD Pat Rabbitte show that the numbers signing on in Tallaght have jumped by almost 2,000 in the last 18 months, with 5,526 unemployed in October 2008 compared with 5,577 in May 2007 - a 54.5% increase. Nationally, there are now more than a quarter of a million people unemployed, including more than 100,000 newly signing on in the last 12 months.
Looney, who is standing in the Tallaght Central Ward which covers Greenhills, Templeogue and much of Dublin 24, noted that "not one positive measure to curb unemployment or to assist those out of work was presented in the recent budget. Scandalously, the only action brought forward by the Government was to actually make it more difficult to qualify for jobseekers allowance and restrict the period over which it is paid."
"Labour has proposed a series of measures to combat the unemployment problem that have been totally ignored by the Government. In terms of the thousands of workers involved in construction we have proposed a major school building programme to take 40,000 children out of pre-fabs and put them into proper classrooms. We have also put forward a national insulation scheme to make our housing stock more energy efficient, reducing carbon emissions and reducing household fuel bills as well as allowing people to work. We want to see more and better retraining initiatives across the sectors and to ensure a jobs policy and an economy which meet the needs of society - not the other way around."
"Yet again, the Government have shown a nasty, uncaring attitude to working class communities and those who are most vulnerable in our society. For Tallaght Central, now's the time for a real alternative," Looney concluded.