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Burton defends government's jobs record, says economy is in 'transition'

The Social Protection Minister claimed that the jobs initiative had boosted tourism numbers. Yesterday, the CSO said that there were fewer visits to Ireland in the first quarter of 2012.

Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

SOCIAL PROTECTION MINISTER Joan Burton has said that the government’s employment schemes are working despite the latest unemployment figures showing little change from recent months.

Yesterday, the Central Statistics Office said that the number of those signing on the Live Register fell by around 4,000 last month but unemployment remains at 14.3 per cent.

Burton told Newstalk Breakfast that the economy is in “transition”, explaining: “We’re losing and have lost a vast number of jobs in construction and construction relation activity. In the meantime foreign direct investment is very strong into the country.”

The Labour TD said that there was a skills shortage for some of the new foreign companies setting up in Ireland and that it was part of her job to “help the people that are relying on social welfare to move them into what the Troika calls ‘activation’”.

She insisted that the government’s schemes just as Job Bridge were working and claimed that the “jobs initiative has improved tourism numbers” in Ireland.

Yesterday, the CSO said that there were fewer vissts to Ireland in the early part of 2012 with overall visits by overseas residents falling by over 1 per cent in the first quarter.

Burton continued: “We’re spending €20 billion in the economy on social protection which is probably the single biggest spend in terms of the economy going into every shop, every village and every town in the country.

“What I have to do is try and lever that into more activity and more investment,” she said.

“But the important thing is that international companies are coming into Ireland to invest in Ireland as a location base for the European Union,” she added.

Burton also said that the unemployment figures had “stabilised” and stressed that in certain sectors of the economy there was a “demand for labour”.

“What we have to do is make our education systems and all our systems across government responsive,” she added.

Read: Unemployment remains at 14.3 per cent, as 4,000 off the Live Register

Read: Fewer visits to Ireland in early 2012

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Hugh O'Connell

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