Ireland has the fourth highest long-term jobless rate in EU
IRELAND has one of the highest rates of long-term unemployment in the EU.
The latest official figures from Eurostat reveal we rank fourth highest of the union's 28 countries for the number of long-term jobless people.
The statistics show that about 60pc of those out of work are on the Live Register for more than a year. This compares with 70pc in Slovakia, where the level of long-term unemployment is highest.
Greece is in second place, at 67pc, while Croatia, at 64pc, has the third-highest level.
The lowest rate of long-term unemployment is in Sweden, at 18pc, while the figure is 21pc in Finland.
According to the latest CSO figures, long-term unemployment accounted for 61.4pc of total unemployment at the end of last year. This compared with 59.9pc a year earlier, and 62.5pc at the end of 2011.
Last September, the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development warned that our long- term unemployed are at risk of becoming "permanent casualties" of the recession as new and better qualified job seekers take advantage of the recovery.
The Government has also come under fire over its record in getting the long-term unemployed back to work.
Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton recently claimed that employers are unwilling to give many of these people a chance.
Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton said we had seen a very significant reduction in the number of long-term unemployed people who are getting "real jobs in the economy".
He said Momentum, a partly on-the-job and off-the-job programme, had been created to help these individuals.
The Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed said far more needed to be done to assist the long-term unemployed.
"A lot of work needs to be done to ensure (the long-term jobless) get a serious look-in at the jobs that are becoming available," said head of policy and media Brid O'Brien.