Unemployment cannot be fixed with a “magic wand”, Taoiseach says
EU funding for each jobless young person would not pay for a day’s Fás course, TD says
Clare Daly: The TD claimed the EU plan to spend €6 billion over seven years on seven million unemployed young people was just 10 per cent of what had been spent on the banks.
There were sharp exchanges between Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Independent TD Clare Daly in a Dáil row over unemployment and the Government’s policy to address it.
Ms Daly claimed the EU plan to spend €6 billion over seven years on seven million unemployed young people was just 10 per cent of what had been spent on the banks.
She said the amount was less than €150 per person per year and “would not even pay for one day of a Fás course”.
There was an enormous disconnect between the Government’s words and the reality on the ground, she claimed.
But the Taoiseach rejected the figures and stressed there was no disconnect. Rounding on the Dublin North TD, he accused her of having a “rant” and said she did not make any real proposal, “other than the usual waffle which suggests this problem could be fixed with a magic wand which we do not have”.
In an impassioned response Mr Kenny, who will hold a special Cabinet meeting next week on job creation, asked her, “Do you think no one over here [on the Government side] recognises the scale of the challenge for Europe, where 26 million people are unemployed? Have you not heard me say on many occasions that no leader in Europe could be proud of this situation?”
He said that was why the Irish presidency “shoved these major files across the line into reality”. Mr Kenny said €960 billion was being provided by European taxpayers in the next seven years to deal with unemployment.
“Between €6 billion and €8 billion will be spent on tackling youth employment. The money will be front-loaded for the first two years” and there would be flexibility in reviewing the economic circumstances in 2016.
Ms Daly said “a wasted generation remains unemployed” and in Ireland it was one in three, and would be one in two if not for emigration. She said the €6 billion to be spent on young people “works out at less than €1,000 per person and less than €150 per person per year. If would not even pay for one day of a Fás course.”
Mr Kenny acknowledged the unemployment rate among young people in Greece was 60 per cent and 57 per cent in Spain, with varying rates in other states.
He said the ESRI report endorsed the Government’s programme and the challenge for the Government was “getting the balance right”.