Equal opportunity for jobs?

 

Sir, – Recent statistics released by the Central Statistics Office show that in the first six months of 2011, non-Irish immigrants gained 18,500 extra jobs overall in the Irish economy, while Irish nationals lost 1,500 jobs overall in the same period.

The figure for non-Irish immigrants employed overall, increased from 202,900 to 221,400. For immigrants from the EU accession states, the employment figure increased from 97,400 to 112,100 (the largest increase of 14,700). While the number of Irish employed fell by 1,500 from 1,601,400 to 1,599,900.

According to these Government statistics, if you were an Irish national jobseeker, seeking employment between January to June 2011, you were statistically more likely to lose a job than to get a job in Ireland. This is a disturbing figure and indicates that Irish nationals are having greater difficulty in accessing employment than non-Irish nationals, yet no political party highlights these statistics, even though they are available on the Central Statistics Office Website.

The same statistics reveal that between January to June 2011, in the accommodation and food service activities sector, the figure for non-Irish nationals employed increased from 25,900 to 30,000 (an increase of 4,100).

Over the same period Irish nationals showed an increase of only 100 people from 77,000 to 77,100.

So from January to June 2011, 4,100 extra non-Irish nationals gained employment in the catering sector, compared to only 100 Irish nationals. In other words, one Irish person gained employment for every 41 non-Irish in this sector. The same pattern has most likely been repeated in the second half of 2011. These statistics reveal a serious imbalance in the demographics of people who have gained employment in Ireland this year.

I believe many Irish nationals who emigrated from Ireland this year would have remained in the country if they had been given a fair chance of applying for the 17,100 extra jobs that were created in the first six months of this year.

The ESRI predicts that 75,000 people will leave Ireland in 2012, and yet the Government refuses to address the fact that in many instances, especially in the catering and retail sector, Irish employers have an unwritten policy of “no Irish need apply”.

A certain amount of immigration is welcome in Ireland and immigrants must be treated with respect and equality in their new country, however, Irish nationals also deserve to be treated with respect and equality when applying for jobs, and as can be seen from these CSO statistics, this is not happening.

Instead, two groups of people are being treated badly: Irish nationals are not being considered for many low-skilled jobs and are therefore forced to emigrate, while immigrant workers are being forced to work for less than minimum wage and often are not given their proper benefits and entitlements. Irish employers need to stop exploiting cheap foreign labour and stop selling out their own people.

We will not fix this country until Irish nationals and immigrants are given equal treatment in low-skilled sectors of the economy. – Yours, etc,

BARRY MURPHY-RICHARDS,

Carysfort Avenue,

Blackrock,

Co Dublin.