Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

Unemployment 'plays into dissidents' hands'

Margaret Ritchie

Soring levels of youth unemployment could play into the hands of dissidents, an MP has claimed.

Margaret Ritchie pointed to figures showing the number of 18 to 24-year-olds out of work has hit a 15-year high in Northern Ireland, at 18%.

Speaking in a Westminster debate, she urged action from Northern Ireland Minister Hugo Swire.

She said: "In Northern Ireland, we must be particularly aware that the risk of having many young people unemployed could play directly into the hands of dissidents who aim to disrupt our community and our way of life.

"People across the island of Ireland — north and south — need no reminding of the damage to society caused when young people are starved of opportunity."

Mr Swire said responsibility for unemployment lay with the Northern Ireland Assembly, but said his door was always open.

He pointed out that the province’s unemployment rate covering all ages was lower than the UK average.

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