The number of people signing on in December in South Tipperary rose by 4% according to figures released by the Central Statistics Office.
The number of people signing on in South Tipperary stood at 9453 in December, which was a 4% increase on the previous month. In response to the increase Fine Gael's Deputy Tom Hayes warned that unemployment and emigration must be the focus of government for 2011.
"Unemployment is spiralling out of all control as this government ignores the magnitude of the problem. A further 356 people joined the dole queues in South Tipperary in a single month, with joblessness in some towns like Tipperary and Cahir rising by up to 6%. Tipperary Town and Clonmel each had 100 additional people sign on in December, compared to the previous month," Tom Hayes said.
"December is traditionally a month where unemployment does not increase, because there is retail work available for people, so these figures are very disappointing. I am very concerned that the government has thrown in the towel about unemployment and emigration in this country," he said.
He called on the government to be creative about job creation and job retention.
"I am calling on the Minister for Enterprise, Jobs and Economic Planning to seriously take on board the crisis situation our country is in. December's weather hugely affected small business including shops, services, restaurants and pubs and the government must deal with the now virtually state-owned banks to ensure that business can survive," he concluded.
Concern over the increasing unemployment figures was also voiced by FG councillor Michael Murphy.
He said the figures demonstrated the compelling need for the government to end their obsession with protecting the banks, and finally turn their attention to delivering on a national jobs strategy.
Councillor Murphy continued - "Unfortunately, for many people the only way to get work in Brian Lenihan's Ireland is to seek employment overseas - I hear this story repeatedly from across South Tipperary. In addition to this, it is important to note that there are hundreds of people each month throughout the country who are no longer eligible for benefits - mainly because their spouse is still in employment. These are people who are not entitled to Jobseekers Allowance or other benefits because they fail the means test and therefore don't show up on the Live Register. Were it not for emigration and people no longer entitled to benefits the Live Register figures would be even worse."
Councillor Murphy concluded - "Unfortunately, the legacy of this Fianna Fil government and Brian Lenihan's tenure as Minister for Finance is a return to mass emigration, and the beginnings of long term unemployment again. We need a new, fresh government which will have as its number one priority the creation and protection of jobs."