State 'must uphold pledge on jobs'
The Government has been called on to deliver on its jobs promise after the unemployment rate remained at 14.7% last month.
Official figures showed a slight fall in the total numbers signing on the dole in March, down by 3,100 to 441,193, but revealed one third of those on the Live Register are long-term unemployed.
The Central Statistics Office said the number of men seeking benefits soared by 40,068, or 48.5%, in the past 12 months.
Sinn Fein said the figures represent a national emergency which warrants swift Government action.
Peadar Toibin, party spokesman on enterprise, jobs and innovation, said: "What we have got instead is a promise of a jobs plan and budget after the first 100 days.
"Given that ESRI (Economic and Social Research Institute) figures state that 50,000 people will emigrate this year, that means that roughly 13,000 people will emigrate while they are waiting for the new Government to publish their plan.
"People cannot wait any longer for Government intervention."
Business group Ibec said the figures were disappointing.
Ibec senior economist Reetta Suonpera said the most striking trend in recent data was the sharp increase in long-term unemployment.
"The Government must not waste any time in putting in place a credible jobs and training strategy, with emphasis on lower level skilled workers who have been the most severely affected by the recession," she said.