Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Press Release - Local Young People Facing Life-Long Jobs Crisis - Looney

Dermot Looney, the Labour Party candidate for this year’s local election in Tallaght Central, has said that the most recent live register figures for the area highlight a potential “life-long jobs crisis” which will be felt hardest by young people. Looney’s comments come in the wake of March’s live register figures which show a record 8,233 people out of work in Tallaght – with a quarter of those aged under 25.

The 26 year-old Labour candidate, who is based in Greenhills and works in Tallaght, has been highlighting youth unemployment as a campaign issue for many months and has said that measures in April’s budget are a double-whammy for young unemployed people.

March’s live register figures show an extra 259 people signing on at the Tallaght Social Welfare Office, 83 of whom were under 25.

In just 12 months there has been a staggering increase of 3777, or 85%, in the total numbers signing on in Tallaght. The youth rate shows an increase of 947, also 85% up on the figures since last March.

However, Looney has said that the Tallaght office shows a much higher rate of youth unemployment than the remainder of the country.

“Nationally, 21% of those out of work are under 25,” said Looney. “But in Tallaght, this rises to 25%.”

“When broken down by gender, we can see that young women in Tallaght are being hit even harder. Locally, women under 25 make up more than 29% of the total amount of women signing on – much higher than the 22.5% nationally. With hits in childcare and other budget measures, young women are being targeted particularly unfairly.”

Looney also highlighted the sad increases at the Bishop Square Welfare Office, used by people in the Dublin 12 and 6w parts of the Tallaght Central ward. Here, the number of those signing on increased by almost 500 from February to March. Incredibly, there has been a jump in those signing on at Bishop Square in the last 12 months of 95.4%.

“The numbers of young people out of work in our community are truly depressing, but talking to local people and hearing their stories makes the current crisis really hit home,” said Looney. “On the doorsteps, I have talked to countless young people and their families who are most at risk, hearing heartbreaking stories of despair. Even emigration is not an option for many young workers given the global jobs crisis.”

“It is scarcely believable that under 20’s are being slaughtered with a halving of their jobseekers allowance – with barely any schemes to encourage them back either to employment or education. As the youngest candidate in the county, my solidarity lies strongly with those young people; refusing to intervene at this stage will mean a life-long jobs crisis for thousands of local young people.”

“I will continue the campaign for better employment and education opportunity for all people, especially the young. Labour’s proposals for an earn and learn scheme, and our support for increases in Community Employment schemes, are the very ideas that will bring us out of this mess – not the same old policies from Fianna Fáil and their cronies which have brought us this crisis.”