Thursday 23 March 2017

Brendan O'Connor: Don't knock the very lifeblood of Irish economy

Most entrepreneurs have put everything on the line to help create jobs in Ireland, writes Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

It is now a tradition that the Taoiseach wows us once a year at the Dublin Chamber of Commerce dinner by speaking in a passionate manner and without notes for anything up to four hours -- well, 20 minutes at least. He did it again on Thursday evening, galvanising the nation and invoking the spirit of 1916. He also mentioned in the course of his speech that 130,000 people lost their jobs in the last year.

It's a fairly raw, staggering number. Every working day in the past 12 months, 500 people have lost their jobs, 500 families devastated every day. And losing your job is not like it used to be. Because nowadays there are no other jobs to go to and those losing their jobs are unlikely to have any equity built up in their house or anywhere else.

Losing your job now is a recipe for despair, for losing your home, for being thrown on the scrap heap. The Taoiseach defended his Government's efforts on behalf of those losing their jobs by pointing out that it was spending €900m a year on retraining the unemployed.

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