THE number of people unemployed across the county rose by 250 people last month, new figures show.
Date just released from the Central Statistics Office show there are now 20,131 people unemployed in Co Limerick, up from 19,876 at the end of April.
The rise is most stark in Newcastle West, which has seen the numbers unemployed rise from 3,294 to 3,422 - an increase of 127 people.
In the city, there is now an additional 112 people in the dole queue, while Kilmallock’s unemployment figure is up by 16 to 2,625 this month.
Across in Listowel, an office used by Limerick people living on the Kerry border, the number of people signing on has risen by 28 people month-on-month: from 3,007 in April to 3,035 in May.
Fine Gael’s Co Limerick TD Patrick O’Donovan conceded the figures are too high.
He added: “The government focus must be creating an environment in which jobs are created. The initiatives it has taken in the budget, for example, the jobs bridge, the cut in the VAT rate, the creation of internships, and the restoration of the minimum wage, will all help. But at the end of the day, while exports are doing well, our domestic economy is still stubbornly low.”
Sinn Fein’s city north councillor Maurice Quinlivan said Finance Minister Michael Noonan and Housing Minister Jan O’Sullivan should be “hanging their heads in shame” over the figures.
“We have two government ministers sitting at the Cabinet Table but all they have brought to Limerick is their ministerial cars. They have delivered nothing to the people who elected them to office.”
Cllr Quinlivan maintains the problem of unemployment remains ignored by the ministers.
“They seem intent on following the record of the previous government’s minister from Limerick by simply ignoring our unemployment problem.”
Labour’s southside councillor Joe Leddin said: “It’s very easy for Maurice Quinlivan to criticise from the sidelines. The Government has only been in office for 12 months and the unemployment crisis is the single biggest challenge in the government at the moment.”
He continued: “We have had two job announcements for the area in the past month and we are doing all we can to make Limerick an attractive place for businesses to invest in.”
Cllr Diarmuid Scully added: “There is no magic wand.”