Last week the Central Statistics Office released figures which I bet came as a surprise to many people.
I’m referring to the figures on ‘Unemployment Blackspots’ which are defined as areas where there are more than 200 people in the local Labour Force and where unemployment is above 25%.
It came as one hell of a shock – particularly after being told for months on end of the ‘miracle’ of 6% unemployment at national level – to find there were 79 such areas throughout the country.
Little wonder the government’s ‘Keep the Recovery Going’ slogan got slapped down big time by the electorate at the last General Election.
Facts don’t lie. In fact the real picture could be even worse. Where I live, for example, in Donegal these statistics don’t take into account the numbers who have emigrated; the real figure in some parts of the county would probably be about 40/50% .
I presume along the western seaboard right down to Kerry the picture would be very similar.
Let me repeat my own story one more time because, for me, it’s symptomatic of why we can’t attract jobs to many parts of rural Ireland. My story goes like this – when I was setting up business in Donegal the TD’s, the local councillors, Council officials etc. gave me assurance after assurance that my company, Claddagh Resources – which is a global business – would be provided with usable broadband and hi-tech support. I could have papered my office wall with the promises. Two decades later it still hasn’t been delivered.
International companies won’t come here now without guarantees of delivery of hi-speed broadband. What I’m say is you can’t string people along. You have to deliver what you promise.
And one other thing – we don’t need another report about ‘regional development’.