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'124,000 have left country in past five years'


A welfare form. Photo: Mark Condren

A welfare form. Photo: Mark Condren

A welfare form. Photo: Mark Condren

Almost 124,000 Irish people have emigrated since 2010, new research has identified.

The policy briefing from Social Justice Ireland has identified that although the unemployment rate is falling, it remains considerably high when compared to before the recession.

The organisation pointed out that there are 15pc less full-time jobs in Ireland than in 2007 and more people are opting to work part-time.

These statistics, coupled with the fact that there was a net loss of Irish people to emigration of 123,800, is masking the true problem of underemployment, the group said.

"The recession has left Ireland with a deep long-term unemployment crisis and a growing number of people in precarious employment," said Fr Seán Healy, Director of Social Justice Ireland.

"These two developments are having huge negative impacts on the well-being of individuals, families and communities.

"Long-term unemployment is at record levels as a proportion of those who are unemployed but it would be a great deal worse if fewer people had emigrated," he added.

"The key problem is that those seeking jobs far outnumber the jobs available."

The Policy Briefing, titled 'Work, Jobs and Unemployment', shows that long-term unemployment has fallen by 48,700 since 2010 but still makes up 58pc of the total number of people unemployed.

The independent think tank outlines that there has been a marked growth of various forms of 'precarious employment' in recent years.

Since 2007, employment has fallen by 10pc, but this figure doesn't show that there has been a bigger decline in full-time employment (15pc) and a growth in part-time employment (up 14pc).

Among those part-time employed there has also been an increase in the numbers of people who are underemployed - those people who are working less hours than they would like to.

By the end of 2014 the numbers underemployed stood at 115,500 people, more than one-quarter of all part-time workers.

"While an element of these figures can be explained by the recession and suppressed levels of activity, in some sectors they also suggest the emergence of a greater number in precarious employment," Fr Healy said.

Social Justice Ireland's policy proposals include further upskilling the unemployed.