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Long-term jobless reaches 200,000 in South

By Aideen Sheenan

Long-term unemployment in the Republic has reached 200,000 for the first time ever despite a slight reduction in the overall numbers out of work.

Unemployed people must be helped to get some of the 13,000 jobs promised in the government's new €2.25bn (£1.7bn) infrastructural stimulus package, the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed (INOU) said. This followed publication of new figures showing a 5% rise in the number of people on the Live Register for over a year, bringing their total to 200,086.

The increase means that 43.5% of those signing on are long-term unemployed, the figures show.

"This is a deeply worrying figure, people who are long-term unemployed face particular challenges - if you're long-term unemployed it's infinitely more difficult to get back to work," said INOU co-ordinator John Stewart.

The Republic's unemployment rate is 14.8% compared to 6.9% in Northern Ireland.

Long-term unemployment now is worse than it was in the previous recession of the 1980s and early 1990s when it peaked at around 138,000, he said. Those out of work long-term must be helped to get some of the new jobs created by infrastructure projects through simple measures such as informing them when vacancies arise, refresher training courses and assistance with interview skills, he added.

There are now 460,323 people on the Live Register, down almost 10,000 on this time last year, though the unemployment rate remains unchanged at 14.8%.

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