We are back to the ‘bad old days’ of the 1980s with the return of unemployment black spots and  whole families without a bread-winner, according to Workers’ Party City Councillor Davy Walsh. With nearly 3,500 more people in the city and county out of work than this time last year, the Ferrybank councillor claims: “the government seems to have given up  on dealing with the situation, and the disease of inaction which has affected the health service for so long has now spread to almost every major government department.”

The latest Waterford Live Register figures show that 9,786 people signed on in the city and county last month, compared to 6,324 in November 2007.

“The country is in the grip of an economic depression unprecedented in recent times,” said Cllr Walsh on Thursday last.

“The government is so obsessed with cutting spending that it is unable to see beyond cutbacks and crisis management. At the same time there is a dire need for affordable housing and we need new and modernised schools and hospitals.”

He added: “It is time to stop looking at the private sector which has walked the country into crisis and go back to state intervention and job creation in the areas such as state construction projects and creation of sustainable jobs based on our own natural resources of people, minerals and food production.”   Labour Deputy Brian O’Shea said his recent call for the appointment of a special Director of Employment for Waterford and the south east is now “even more urgent” in light of the latest jobless figures.