asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he is aware of the abnormal increases in unemployment in the country over the last 12 months and, further, if it is the Government's intention to take immediate steps to relieve the situation so that those unemployed will not be required to emigrate.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Increase in Unemployment.
The Government's policy is directed primarily towards increasing productivity in agriculture and manufacturing industry, and thereby to ensure increased opportunities of employment for workers.
If, however, the Deputy's question is intended to ascertain the extent to which work schemes for the relief of unemployment are in preparation, he will get this information more readily by addressing it to the Ministers who are directly concerned.
Arising out of the Minister's reply, in which he has stated that he recognises the abnormal increase in unemployment, would the Minister not agree that the statement he has now made as Tánaiste would not be much consolation to unemployed people either in his or in my constituency? Could we have some authoritative statement from some leader of the Government in which we could see some ray of hope for unemployed people who are at present in the country and for those who have emigrated in the last few months?
The Deputy's question was not very clear. I do not know whether he wanted a general outline of the Government's long-term policy to promote increased opportunities for employment or particulars of works schemes likely to be initiated immediately. A reply to a parliamentary question is hardly a suitable vehicle for the statement of long-term policy which the Deputy now seems to indicate that he had in mind. If he requires information concerning particular works schemes he could get that from the appropriate Department. So far as the long-term position is concerned, the whole aim of Government policy is to increase the opportunities of employment.
The whole aim of Government policy, I assume, no matter what Government would be in power, would be to increase employment. The Tánaiste recognises that there are many now unemployed and they want to know what immediate steps will be taken to provide them with some sort of employment.
Immediate steps by the Government?
Yes, by the Government.
If the Deputy has in mind various constructional projects which provide employment, I suggest that he can get that information from the various Departments whose concern is the administration of those schemes.
Would the Minister consider in the next few days making a complete statement as regards employment in all branches of industry? My concern is this. In many parts of my constituency there are men being laid off. In the rural areas there is an abnormal increase in unemployment. There ought to be some sort of review on behalf of the Government with regard to that situation.
As far as statistical facts are concerned the Government have none available that are not published periodically.