Sunday, August 15, 2010

Where are the promised Lisbon jobs Now?

IBEC posters promising jobs during second Lisbon Treaty Referendum Campaign
Do you remember seeing all these posters?  'Yes for Jobs', 'Yes for Jobs and Investment', 'Yes to Recovery' as well as a whole host of other literature bearing a similar message.  Remember all those politicians promising the moon and the stars (and particularly the jobs) in order to con people into voting for a treaty that they had already democratically rejected?

Well that was almost 12 months, so where exactly are all these jobs we were promised if the Lisbon Treaty was ratified?  Recently released figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed that,  contrary to those  promises of economic recovery and job creation,  unemployment levels in this state are at its highest in more than 16 years.  The numbers on the live register in July reached more than 466,000, an increase of 14,000 on June of this year and more than 34,000 higher than July of 2009.

The state wide figures are replicated here in the north west also.  There were 22,832 people on the Live Register in Donegal at the end of July, up 1,981 on the same period last year, a rise of 9.5%.  However, the jobless figure for Ballyshannon rose by a massive 15%, with Dungloe increasing by 13% and Letterkenny by 12%.  And in the latest blow to Donegal's unemployment problems, it was announced last week that the Keith Prowse call centre in Lisfannon, Buncrana, Co Donegal is set to close with the loss of up to 100 jobs.

In County Sligo, the unemployed numbers have risen by 166 from June and almost 500 from July 2009 to now stand at 5932.   In Leitrim those signing on has increased by 163 to total 3900, while County Roscommon's total is now 4,306 following yet another increase of 216 from last month and up 425 on July of last year.  County Mayo also seen an increase in those signing on with an extra 450 people joining the live register in July bringing the total to 13,965, and increase of more than 1200 on this time last year.

Despite the continued job losses and the fact that Fianna Fáil led administrations have succeeded in increasing unemployment levels from just 4.3% in July 2005 to the current level of 13.7% and rising in July 2010, Fianna Fáil Ministers have defended and attempted to justify the rising unemployment figures and their abject failure to save and create jobs.

According to Batt O'Keefe, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, Fianna Fáil policies "are helping Ireland to emerge from recession and to avoid another period of protracted recession."

"We will persist with our policies" he said "to help unemployed workers to get back into the labour force and create conditions conducive to job creation".

Billboard in Donegal (December 2009)
Reacting to the latest unemployment figures and Fianna Fáil's response to them, éirígi activist Gerry Casey accused the government of "gross incompetence and mismanagement  of the economy".  He also claimed that the true figures for people losing their jobs is far higher than the figures suggest.

Casey said:  "At the time of the second Lisbon Treaty referendum campaign last year, Fianna Fáil backed up by the supposed opposition parties, Labour and Fine Gael as well as the representatives of big business such as IBEC and the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland, promised us all that a vote for the Lisbon Treaty would secure jobs for Ireland.  As éirígí pointed out during the campaign, that was a blatant lie.  The continued loss of jobs around the state and the latest unemployment figures which now stands at a 16 year high of 466,000, exposes that lie clearly for all to see."

He added:  "However bad people may think those figures are, the reality is that the numbers losing their jobs is actually far higher.  What the figures don't show are those who are unemployed and have been forced to emigrate once more, egged on by a government happy to push them onto a boat or plane and get them off the live register.  Shamefully, forced emigration, a thing the Irish people thought was a thing of the past, has re-emerged with a vengeance as a direct result of this governments policies.  The statistics also hide those who are now on state schemes or remained in education due to a lack of employment."

"Fianna Fáil and the Greens have failed  miserably in tacking the jobs crisis and creating sustainable employment.  Their policy in terms of reducing the numbers of unemployed has been to cynically squeeze our young people who find themselves out of work to such a degree that they are forced to emigrate."

"On top of losing their jobs, young people had their dole reduced to €100 a week and €150 a week for under 21's and 22-24 year olds respectively, making it virtually impossible for them to survive on the dole in their own country.  Even at that, people signing on to receive this pittance are been forced to wait for as long as 16 weeks before being paid.  These measures were deliberately introduced by a callous government in order to make life unbearable for young unemployed people in the hope they would choose the option of emigration thus helping to hide the true extent of unemployment.”

FIanna Fáil, Fine Gael & Labour Unite in False Jobs Promises during Lisbon Treaty Referendum Campaign

"This administration, aided by the 'opposition' and big business, lied to the Irish people when they told us that ratifying the Lisbon Treaty would mean job creation and an end to the recession.  The 'opposition' who would offer themselves as an alternative deliberately lied to the Irish people also.  These parties, along with the neo-liberal capitalist system they strive to maintain, all share responsibility for the current economic crisis and the savage attacks being waged against working people and those less well off in society." 

Casey concluded:  "The solution to our social and economic problems is not replacing Tweedledum (Fianna Fáil/Greens) with Tweedledee (Fine Gael/Labour).  The solution lies in dismantling their rotten corrupt  capitalist system that continues to heap misery and hardship on working class communities and to replace it with an alternative Ireland based on public ownership and a decent standard of living and working conditions for all."

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