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South-east now a black spot for unemployment

DOLE queues in the south-east have just got longer, with one in six people now claiming -- and hundreds more workers laid off this week.

The unemployment rate in the south-east was as high as 18.1pc by the end of 2010 -- the highest regional unemployment rate in the country -- with 41,700 people unemployed.

Yesterday, still reeling from the Talk Talk job losses, the region woke to local radio headlines about closures at Culleton Insurance. One of the largest independent brokers in Ireland, it is to close seven of its eight branches in the south-east with the loss of 25 jobs.

The area has already been hit hard by redundancies at major pharmaceutical and electronic plants and at the Waterford Crystal factory.

The local chamber of commerce puts the real figure of job losses over the past few years at 3,000-plus.

Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton said the IDA and Enterprise Ireland had been told to promote the region. And the Department of Education said yesterday it would speed up a review into whether new 'technological universities' could be created for the area.

Irish Independent