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Measures will do little to remedy crisis, says Martin

THE Government's jobs initiative was last night criticised by the Opposition as having too little in it to properly tackle the unemployment crisis.

Fianna Fail described it as "very modest" but "welcome", while Sinn Fein said the initiative, which had already been downgraded from a jobs budget, had been diluted even further than expected.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said the absence of any figure for estimated jobs to be created was "striking".

"The supporting economic documents for the initiative show that the Government has not projected any net impact on employment from the measures," Mr Martin said.

He also claimed 70pc of the money announced for "education, roads and retro-fitting is actually taken from existing allocations".

Fianna Fail also criticised the Government's figure for the cost of 20,900 new training places. Mr Martin said the jobs initiative put the cost at €2,100 per place annually, which he said was "far below the real cost".

"Today's package, taken as a whole, will add little in terms of net job creation and represents a missed opportunity."

Sinn Fein's finance spokesman Pearse Doherty also criticised the initiative for containing no specific figures on the number of jobs to be created. "While the Government proposes spending €135m on capital projects, €106m of this is from existing allocations," Mr Doherty said.

He also said the 20,900 training places were a far cry from the 60,000 education, training and work placements promised by the coalition parties during the general election campaign.

Irish Independent