Un­em­ploy­ment fig­ures shock coun­cil­lor

Fe­bru­ary 2005

Bray People - - NEWS -

UN­EM­PLOY­MENT fig­ures for Rath­drum and Rathnew has been de­scribed as ‘as­ton­ish­ing’ and both are likely to be­come ‘satel­lite towns’ un­less some form of new in­dus­try is at­tracted to the re­gion.

Cllr Jimmy O’Shaugh­nessy, a Rath­drum na­tive, ad­mits he was ‘shocked’ to find that Rathnew had an un­em­ploy­ment rate of 21.2 per cent and 14.2 per cent for Rath­drum ac­cord­ing to poverty pro­file fig­ures com­piled by Wick­low County Coun­cil.

‘Rath­drum and Rathnew have been two of the most ne­glected re­gions in the whole of Wick­low,’ says Cllr O’Shaugh­nessy.

‘ There are very few fac­to­ries in Rath­drum to be­gin with and last years clo­sure of Scher­ing Plough and the sub­se­quent re­dun­dan­cies only made the mat­ter worse.

There have been no new in­dus­tries open­ing up in ei­ther area for a long time now and there are peo­ple in­volved with Wick­low County Coun­cil who are meant to be at the fore­front en­cour­ag­ing small in­dus­tries to move to places like this.’

The fig­ures are based on a cen­sus from 2002 up to 2005 and the fig­ures for Rathnew and Rath­drum are far higher than those of neigh­bour­ing towns. Wick­low Town has an un­em­ploy­ment rate of 9 per cent, Ash­ford 9.6 per cent and New­town­moun­tkennedy 8.9 per cent.

Cllr O’Shaugh­nessy feels the Depart­ment of En­ter­prise, Trade and Em­ploy­ment should fo­cus more at­ten­tion on Wick­low, par­tic­u­larly as Rath­drum has been marked as a ‘growth of town’ by the Na­tional Spa­cial Strat­egy.

‘You would have to worry about the fu­ture. You have 300 houses on stream in Rath­drum for the next year and a half, bring­ing 700 peo­ple into the town. Where are they go­ing to work?’ asks Cllr O’Shaugh­nessy. ‘You have no in­dus­try and the schools can’t cater for ev­ery­one.

‘If trends con­tinue, then towns like Rath­drum and Rathnew will end up as satel­lite towns.

They need to be pro­moted more so as to at­tract some in­dus­tries. Oth­er­wise, un­em­ploy­ment will con­tinue to in­crease, young peo­ple with no jobs and no where to go will start loi­ter­ing the streets, and what will hap­pen from there?’

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