Unemployment benefit figure drops
The number of people signing on for unemployment benefits dropped slightly last month, official figures revealed.
The Central Statistics Office reported 435,121 people were on the Live Register in March, a fall of 1,835 on the previous month.
The unemployment rate stood at 13.4pc.
Leo Varadkar, Fine Gael enterprise spokesman, said unemployment has trebled since the Government came to power.
"The most worrying feature of today's figures is evidence that more and more people are moving from short-term jobseekers' benefit to long-term jobseekers' allowance, as their stamps run out," he claimed.
"The social consequences of long-term unemployment are as serious as the economic ones currently paralysing the country. It leads to a loss of hope, destroys communities and causes poverty."
Mr Varadkar claimed the Government had given the banks a bailout of 40 billion euro yesterday but nothing for the unemployed.
Sinn Fein enterprise spokesman Arthur Morgan accused the Government of pouring billions into a banking black hole rather than job creation.
"While a whole generation of young, educated and skilled people are leaving our shores, the Government are only intent on securing the futures of their friends in the banks," Mr Morgan said.
"The Ireland they are creating is not an equal or fair one.
"The Ireland they are creating is one habitable only for developers, bankers and their political cronies."