The latest Live Register figures, which show that over the past two years the number of people signing on at the Westmeath Social Welfare offices has almost doubled, increasing by a massive 4,446 from 5,817 to 10,263, does not convey the full extent of the jobs crisis in the constituency according to Fine Gael Senator Nicky McFadden.
“There is twice the number of people on the dole in Westmeath than there was two years ago but the true extent of the jobs crisis is, sadly, being masked by the huge number of our young people who are being forced to emigrate and the rising number of people whose eligibility for social welfare claims has run out.
“It is true that there are no longer massive jumps in the numbers signing on month-to-month, but this does not mean that the problem is abating. Far from it. Rather, the figures are hiding the full story,” said Senator McFadden.
“Unfortunately, under Fianna Fáil and the Greens, for many the only way to get work is to look for it overseas. We have already lost somewhere in the region of 100,000 of our best and brightest since the recession began and with estimates of 65,000 more to emigrate this year the human cost of failed Government policies will continue to be felt on communities right across Westmeath.
“Added to this, there are hundreds of people each month throughout the country whose eligibility for social welfare has run out, mainly due to the fact that their spouse is still in employment. These are people who fail the means test, are not entitled to Jobseekers’ Allowance, and therefore are not showing up on the Live Register.”