Waterford Labour Deputy Brian O’Shea has accused the both Tanaiste, Mary Coughlan, who is also Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe of showing no urgency in tackling the chronic unemployment situation emerging in the south east.

The Live Register in Waterford stands at 8,078, an increase of 55% on the same time last year. The Live Register in Dungarvan is 1,359, up 50%.

Deputy O’Shea recalled that In answer to a Parliamentary Question tabled by him on September 24 last, Minister O’Keeffe stated in regard to the application of Waterford Institute of Technology for upgrading to the University of the South East that he expected consideration of the applications would be finalised “in the coming week”.

But a similar Parliamentary Question which he tabled last Thursday met with the following response from the Minister: “I expect that consideration of the applications will be finalised in the near future”.

“Effectively there is little or no difference between the two replies which indicates that little or nothing is happening”, said the Waterford Deputy.

“It is generally accepted now in the south east that the setting up of the University is the single most important issue in regard to the future of commercial and industrial development and prosperity for the region. I am calling on Minister O’Keeffe to make an immediate positive decision in the matter”.

He also had a question tabled to the Tanaiste asking for her strategic plan for the industrial and commercial development of the south east.

In reply the Tanaiste stated that the industrial development agencies, namely IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland, together with the County and City Enterprise Boards, were responsible for the development of the region.

Deputy O’Shea described the Tanaiste’s reply as very insipid and of little value in the face of the major unemployment crisis in the region.