Unemployment is rising at an alarming rate in Westport where there are now 1,768 on the live register. The scenic town saw the largest percentage growth in unemployment in the county last month. The December figures show there has been a hike of 9.1 per cent or 147 on the November returns for Westport, and the situation has been described as “very worrying” by Dáil Deputy and Fine Gael spokesperson on Community, Rural and Gaeltacht affairs, Michael Ring.
He said: “The figures show Westport to be one of the unemployment blackspots in the county. Westport has the highest rate of unemployment increase from November to December last. It is a very worrying trend.”
Deputy Ring said he would be calling on the Government and IDA to make Westport a priority area in the west for job creation. “In particular the IDA needs to do something about the Westport Technology Park. Nothing is really happening in relation to creating jobs,” he added.
Castlebar on the other hand is the only Mayo town where unemployment figures dropped last month, albeit by only one person. However this is not a trend that is expected to continue as the new year progresses.
The Live Register showed the following returns for December across Mayo: Achill 481 up by 27 (5.9 per cent ); Ballina 3,173 up 114 (3.7 per cent ); Ballinrobe 1,049 up 52 (5.2 per cent ); Belmullet 1,018 up 39 (four per cent ); Castlebar 2,198 down one (0.0 per cent ); Claremorris 1,402 up 67 (five per cent ); Swinford 1,647 up 60 (3.8 per cent ); and Westport 1,768 up 147 (9.1 per cent ).
Dep Ring said he would be raising the jobless figures in the Dáil when it resumes.