Ballina jobless figures a 'disgrace'
The fact that Ballina has the highest unemployment rate among large Irish towns is a searing indictment of ineffective government policies and official neglect over a long number of years.
So says the Council for the West, commenting on recent revelations for the 2006 Census which shows that the Mayo town has almost 16% of its workforce out of work.
The unemployment rate was calculated using the responses to the question on Principal Economic Status in the 2006 Census. The national rate was 8.5 percent, with urban areas (9.5%) having higher unemployment than rural areas (6.9%).
Commenting on the findings, Council for the West chairman Sean Hannick said the fact that Ballina had almost twice the national average out of work showed that the rising tide created by the Celtic Tiger had not lifted all boats. "In fact it is disgraceful," he said.
"Coupled with the revelation that a large tract of North Mayo has actually seen a decline in population while other areas have prospered, there is enough firm evidence to show that Ballina and its traditional hinterland needs help, and it needs it now," said Mr Hannick.
He said the inordinate delays over the Ballina Business Park, the N26 road, Broadband and other amenities were unacceptable and had contributed to the shocking statistics.
"We call on the Government yet again, Mayo's Dail Deputies, members of local authorities, trade unions, Chambers of Commerce in the area, and especially the State's job creation agencies and the National Roads Authority to demonstrate their commitment to the region by actually getting the finger out and achieving advances rather than merely talking about them," he said.
"If they don't act with purpose the situation can only grow worse and the long term consequences for Ballina and areas of North Mayo will be far from healthy," he added.
The Council for the West is a voluntary, independent, non-political body which monitors and reports on the socio-economic state of the West and acts as a lobby group promoting the development of the West. The Council for the West was set up by the Western Bishops and has successfully campaigned for retention of Objective 1 Status for the region.
It continues to campaign for balanced regional development and highlights issues of major concern for the region.
Public Relations Officer: Terry Reilly 086 8109518 / 096 21603 / email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Co-ordinator: Caroline Wilson, Tel: 096 32975 / email: email@example.com
Sean Hannick: Co.Mayo,Tel: 096 32255 / 087 2564824, email: firstname.lastname@example.org