The latest jobs figures show Ireland is struggling to keep pace with the growth of the global economy.
In fact, Ireland’s labour market is so weak that the government has to borrow billions of pounds to stay afloat.
This is not just because of the current economic climate, but because of a lack of investment in the public sector, said Professor Andrew McConville of the University of Limerick.
The government’s current deficit is €4.4 billion.
That is more than twice the national average.
The public sector is currently borrowing more than it makes in the year to September and is projected to spend €3.9 billion in the next three years.
Professor McConval said the country was on track to fall into recession and that was a major reason why it needed to borrow money.
“The government is spending money to maintain a very fragile recovery, and that’s what we’re going to do,” he said.
The unemployment rate is currently 9.3 per cent.
That compares with 7.5 per cent in Ireland in August and 7.7 per cent at the start of last year.
“If you have a government that’s borrowing money to keep afloat, it has to be doing it,” Professor McConvale said.
“You have got to work hard.
It’s the hardest job in the world, and it’s the only one you can do if you can’t get a job.”
The government says it has made significant changes to its labour market, which is helping it attract skilled workers, which has helped the economy grow.
The Minister of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Frances Fitzgerald, said Ireland was a place where you could work anywhere, as long as you had a job.
“We are a country where you can go and work, or you can earn a living, or be employed, if you have the skills,” she said.
But Professor McConnville said this could not be achieved without investing in the economy.
“It’s not enough to just talk about investing in our economy,” he explained.
“In Ireland, there are so many other sectors where we are still not in the game.”
He said the government had invested in infrastructure such as roads and bridges and was now spending the money on a new road network, which could lead to more jobs.
“That would be a really good investment,” he concluded.
The Irish Times