With 80 per cent of the new unemployed in the last two years under 30, and over 1,000 patients waiting more than three months for a colonoscopy, Cllr Peter Burke believes the latest figures represent “the human cost of failed Government policies” and that “the savage cuts to healthcare are now having a direct impact on patients”.
Pointing out that in July alone, almost 7,000 women lost jobs, contributing to a staggering overall figure of 452,500 signing on in Ireland, Cllr Burke also highlighted that, according to the National Treatment Purchase Fund, 1,073 patients are now waiting more than three months for a colonoscopy, which is a 13 per cent increase since May.
“Another worrying feature of the employment trend is the impact this recession is having on young people. Unemployment rates among people under 25 are over one in three, while another third of the young unemployed are already classed as long term – out of work for over a year,” he said.
“It is striking that in the very week the Government announced an upgrade in its forecast for GNP for 2010 and 2011, FAS knocked 60,000 off the Government’s forecast for employment in those two years. Between those two years FAS now believes 100,000 jobs will be lost,” he continued.
“Government thinking has been totally dominated by the mistakes of the past. If it wants to make jobs a priority, it has to take actions that put jobs first: actions to get credit flowing, to cut the cost of employing people to promote work sharing, to help young people who are displaced re-skill and gain work experience, to make an ambitious investment programme in the economic arteries of the future.”
On a more positive note, Cllr Burke has welcomed Westmeath County Council signing the contract for the construction of Gaybrook water storage tank.
The Fine Gael councillor, welcomed the progress being made by Westmeath County Council on tackling the water shortage in the Gaybrook and Milltownpass areas with the signing of a contract to build a 1,000 cubic metre water tower.
The new tank will be built adjacent to the existing 800cu.m water tower and construction is due to commence in the coming weeks with completion expected by the end of October this year.
“It is essential that the water supply in the wider Gaybrook Milltown pass area is rectified as soon as possible. Many residents in the area have been experiencing low water pressure and this increase in capacity though the construction of a new water tank will hopefully solve the problem.”