| 4.2°C Dublin

Lack of planning blamed as 1,400 jobs lost a week

THERE were 5,749 lay-offs in April and 1,474 jobs have been lost each week so far in 2010, Government figures have revealed.

Further figures also show that Ireland now has one of the highest unemployment rates among developed countries.

Avine McNally, a director of the Small Firms Association (SFA), castigated the Government for what she said is a lack of planning to cope with the job losses.

"The April redundancy figures show that firms continue to haemorrhage jobs in the first quarter of 2010, and the figures show a complete absence of a Government strategy to save small businesses and jobs," she said.

"1,474 jobs have been lost each week in 2010 and what is particularly concerning about these job losses is that our ability to create new jobs has been severely damaged by losses to competitiveness in recent years.

"There is a clear need for the Government to now prioritise the restoration of cost competitiveness to the small business sector, which is the only way to sustain jobs," added McNally.

"Whilst small Irish businesses have taken a series of actions to regain cost-competitiveness within their own businesses, many costs remain which are outside their control as they are Government controlled.

"In the absence of reductions in these costs, small businesses will have no option but to further reduce the costs that are within their control, and this will inevitably mean a further loss of jobs.

"What we need is strong leadership from Government, the jobs crisis remains very real and the Government must take immediate action.

"By focusing on the factors that are within our control domestically, we can sustain and create jobs.

"It is vitally important that we don't allow a whole new generation to be lost to long-term unemployment or emigration."

News of the job losses comes as it emerged that Ireland has the third highest rate of unemployment in the OECD.

Spain currently has the highest unemployment rate in the 34-country body at 19.1pc, followed by Slovakia at 14.1pc, Ireland at 13.2pc and Hungary at 11pc.

According to the latest figures, the number of unemployed people in the OECD stood at 46.1 million in March, a rise of 3.9 million on the same month a year earlier.