Wallace 'tearing his hair out' over official 'responses' on unemployment
DEPUTY Mick Wallace says he is tearing his hair out over the responses given by the Minister for Jobs Mary Mitchell O'Connor over the rising level of unemployment in Wexford.
'People have been calling for me to get my hair cut for over 40 years now. Well I'll have torn it all out by the time I get an proper response to the issues facing Wexford from someone in this government or the last,' he said.
'I asked the Minister in December 2016 to take direct action to tackle the 18.4 per cent unemployment rate in Wexford as the national average was 7.2 per cent.
'She told me then that everything was great in the South East, when in actual fact it wasn't. At the end of January, 2017 the national average unemployment (rate) fell to 7.1 per cent while, unbelievably, the unemployment rate in Wexford increased to 18.8 per cent,' the Deputy said in a statement.
Deputy Wallace said he asked the minister again last week if the State would act in view of the fact that Wexford is one of the most deprived counties in the country.
'Again she told me about the Action Plan for Jobs process and how many jobs they've created in the South East.
'The truth, which the Minister would understand if she could tear herself away from her script for a second, is that the South East is the worst performing area in the state regarding job creation and Wexford is by far the worst performing county in the South East.
'Despite having the second largest population in the South East Wexford had the lowest number off IDA site visits, both last year, and for the combined period from 2011 to 2016.
'People in government do not seem to realise that we have one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, the highest suicide rate, one of the highest rates of rent supplement payment, one of the highest percentages of people who have no formal primary education, and one of the lowest rates of people completing third level education. 'Some of our politicians in Wexford claim credit for a few roads, a new Garda station, a new court house, grants for every sports club in the county, but they can't hide behind the reality - Wexford has been left behind and the gap in inequality between Wexford and other counties is growing,' he said.