[Sinn Fein]

1st July 2003

Cutting CE Schemes as Jobless figures increase little more than madness

Sinn Fein Spokesperson on Social Affairs, Seán Crowe, speaking in the Dáil today called for an urgent debate about the mounting job losses taking place across the state. Referring to the fact that jobless figures have increased every month this year, Deputy Crowe said it was clear the Government had no plan to halt this decline and questioned the wisdom of abolishing 5,000 Community Employment places at a time of rising unemployment.

The Dublin South-West TD said: ``The mounting job losses across the state particularly following the announcement yesterday of the closure of Navan Carpets with the loss of 200 jobs and Powerscreen Ltd in Kilbeggan, County Westmeath, with the loss of another 118 jobs are bad enough, but the numbers seem set to increase. 190 jobs are now under threat in Gweedore in Donegal.

``In our own area we have seen the effects of these jobs losses with the closure of the HB plant in Rathfarnham and Gallahers factory. Unemployment figures have increased every month so far this year and there is no sign yet of the Government coming forward with a plan to halt this decline.

``The Government must face up to the fact that more and more people are being laid off and they must reveal what measures, if any, the Government is prepared to take to deal with rising unemployment.

``At a time of rising unemployment to be going ahead with widespread closing of Community Employment Schemes at the cost of 5,000 places seems little more than madness. Hundreds of families are being plunged into real hardship on a weekly basis now and the Government cannot be allowed to stand idly by.''

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