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Dublin: 12 °C Thursday 18 December, 2014

Ireland’s Digital Champion: Our unemployment figures are a scourge

Lord Puttnam said he would like to work more closely with Richard Bruton as he sees a lot of crossover with his job and the minister’s department.

Lord David Puttnam, Ireland's Digital Champion.
Lord David Puttnam, Ireland's Digital Champion.
Image: Matt Crossick/Empics Entertainment

IRELAND’S DIGITAL CHAMPION, Lord David Puttnam, has said he thinks unemployment levels, particularly among the young, are “unacceptable”.

In an interview with TheJournal.ie, Lord Puttnam said our “unemployment figures are not figures, they’re a scourge, and they have the potential to derail all the good that’s been done over the last few years”.

He pointed out that there is “far too much energy going into trying to make people reasonably competent at things they’re not particularly interested in and will never be very good at.”

It’s about actually saying: “What do you love doing and what jobs can you do that in?”

“What needs to happen is a kind of re-balance from the relative comfort for older people – I mean the security they have – to somehow making sure that the young have exactly the same shot and same levels of investment as we got, and there’s a real danger that’s not happening,” he said.

“Because of our fiscal responsibility, we could create a situation where they never get jobs.”

While he stressed that he has a close relationship with Minister Pat Rabbitte, he said he sees a lot of crossover in his job of promoting the digital agenda in Ireland in other governmental departments.

“I would like to have a closer relationship with Richard Bruton because it’s clear to me that a lot of what I’m doing needs to be picked up there,” he said.

“Especially in the circumstances that we’re in with different departments fighting for their budget and fighting to be prioritised, it’s difficult to get them to work together.”.

On the recent cuts to unemployment benefit for young people, Lord Puttnam said he could “get into an interesting debate” about them if the money raised was used to ensure they had a better chance of getting work but as they stand they are “brainless”.

He said he would like to to have Minister Bruton explain to him why what he is suggesting “is in some respect impossible, because if it isn’t possible then we have a set of issues that are different in magnitude from what we are addressing.”

Read: Unemployment rate fell to 13.2% in October but it’s still ‘unacceptably high’>

Read: Former Mountjoy governor: Dole cuts likely to push young people into criminality>

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