Sunday, 24th September 2017
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2016 Census continues to confirm damning Waterford figures!

Dear editor

As the 2016 Census results continue to trickle through, from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), we still have a huge void and focused action is urgently needed just to get parity with the national averages. I’m wondering just what our elected Government representatives have been doing. In terms of creating an environment whereby the people of Waterford have a chance of real, meaningful, well paid employment.

The latest CSO, 2016 Census update quantifies that at the time of the survey, County Waterford had an unemployment rate of 15.4%, compared to a national average of 12.9%. In addition, when the Census was taken, Waterford had 53,918 people employed, or a labour force participation rate of 58.8%. This compares to 61.4% for the State overall. It is also interesting to note that in the subsequent five years, since the 2011 Census, our employment numbers have only grown by an abhorrently low 4043 people or 0.4%!

Let me repeat that that is a nett job creation of 404 people in the five years since the 2011 Census, which is nothing short of appalling. On average that is only 80 jobs per year! The state has seen a 3.2% increase nationally and Waterford has seen just 0.8% of an increase!

We have to ask ourselves then just what, if any programmes, or schemes have been implemented, to reduce our rate of unemployment. There have been reports, after reports and yet the Census figures show us that we are at a stalemate, when it comes to getting our citizens into full stable employment.

For any Government to say the economy of Waterford has been getting better, over the last five or six years, they are quite clearly looking at the wrong figures! The 2016 Census was a live snapshot of what was reality, on the ground.

Scrolling forward to 2017 and looking at the CSO unemployment figures for the month of May. We can see that for Waterford City and County we are still very much at the bottom of the unemployment pile. The national seasonally adjusted figure details an unemployment rate of 6.4% or 140,7001 people. Yet, Waterford City and County have a total of 16,1112 people on the live register or 11.5% of the total registered unemployed in Ireland. In addition there are 1,872 under 25 year olds, included in the overall figure of 16,111 or 12% of the total. 29.3% of our under 25s are unemployed, compared to a national average of 25.6%.

With the very recent appointment of a new manager to the regional IDA office I would like to think that we may see more FDI. But, in reality this is medium to long term. In the short term we need to support the immediate growth projects that are currently on the table. The fast tracking of the SDZ on the North Quay, for instance. Our FG TD and Councillors, who backed Leo Varadkar, need to secure Government infrastructure funding as a priority, for pledging their support to him. Failure to get this essential fiscal investment may in fact scupper the whole project.

The fact that a full Minister has not been appointed to Waterford and the South East, in the most recent of cabinet reshuffles, shows what little regard Dublin has for the people of this region. We yet again appear to have a cabinet that is not a true reflection of the electorate they represent! We have an awful lot of catching up to do and time is rapidly running out!

In terms of the election of the new FG leader, Waterford’s votes represented a miniscule percentage of the overall numbers. He is indicating that this will, in all likelihood, mean that we are once again at the bottom of the pile when it comes to any share of the political cake.

Yours sincerely,

Cllr. Eddie Mulligan

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