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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 14 May 1969

Vol. 240 No. 8

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Employment Statistics.


asked the Taoiseach the number of people at work on 31st March, 1956, and at the latest available date; and the reason for the decline.

The estimated total number of persons at work in the State in April, 1956, was 1,125,000 while the corresponding figure for April, 1968, was 1,065,000.

Over the period in question the number at work in agriculture, forestry and fishing declined by 117,000 while in non-agricultural economic activity the number at work increased by 57,000.

Since the Taoiseach has now informed us that there are 60,000 fewer employed now than in 1956 would he not agree that, in view of this and of the fact that over 400,000 people have emigrated in the same period, the present Government have been a complete failure?

I reminded the Deputy this morning that our population is increasing and increasing remarkably in recent years and that the decline in agricultural employment has been exceeded by an increase of 2,000 people employed in non-agricultural work, so that the trends, are set fair and they will be kept that way.

The Taoiseach will agree that Deputy Lemass, when he was Taoiseach, said that the real test of Government was the number employed and whether the Government were able to put a stop to emigration. Surely the Taoiseach will now admit, on the figures available which show that there are 60,000 fewer people at work and that over 400,000 have emigrated, that the Government's policy has been a complete flop? Will he not further admit that for the past 25 or 30 years we have been told by the former Taoiseach, Mr. de Valera, and by Deputy Lemass that we were breasting the hill and that prosperity was always around the corner? It was always there but we never succeeded in reaching it.

We are well on the way now——

To bankruptcy, unfortunately.

——with the population increasing and more people at work. This trend will continue under Fianna Fáil Government.

The Fianna Fáil Government will not be there to continue it for very long.