Dáil Éireann - Volume 331 - 10 December, 1981
Supplementary Estimates, 1981 (Resumed). - Vote 42: Labour.
Minister for Labour (Mr. Kavanagh) Liam Kavanagh
Minister for Labour (Mr. Kavanagh): I move:
That a supplementary sum not exceeding £10 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 1981, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Labour, including certain services administered by that Office, and for payment of certain grants-in-aid.
With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I would propose to discuss the Supplementary Estimates for the Office of the Minister for Labour, for the Office of the Minister for the Public Service, for Superannuation and Retired Allowances and for Remuneration together.
An Ceann Comhairle John F. O'Connell
An Ceann Comhairle: Votes 42, 18, 21 and 53.
Mr. Kavanagh Mr. Kavanagh
Mr. Kavanagh: The Supplementary Estimate for the Office of the Minister for Labour has five components; an additional £255,000 under subhead H — Resettlement Allowances; an additional £104,500 under subhead O — Grants for Trade Union Education and Advisory Services; an additional £300,000 under subhead U — Work Experience Programme; a sum of £20,000 under a new subhead, subhead Z — Training and Employment of Young Persons including Youth Employment Agency; and to balance the foregoing an increase of £679,490 under subhead Y — Appropriations-in-Aid.
The resettlement assistance scheme provides financial assistance to persons changing their normal place of residence to take up employment offered through or approved by the National Manpower Service where vacancies cannot be filled  locally. In 1979, the Manpower Consultative Committee proposed a skills recruitment campaign abroad to attract key workers who were at that time in short supply here. The campaign was duly carried out and there was a further similar campaign in 1980.
The Committee saw the resettlement assistance scheme as a vital instrument for attracting such skilled workers and, to this end, the scheme was adapted to offer special inducements to these persons. A higher level of grants was offered to skilled workers coming from abroad and a special disturbance grant was introduced for key workers taking up employment here as a result of these campaigns. Eligibility for this grant continues for two years after settling to take up employment here.
There is an inevitable time lag in attending to removal formalities and, as a consequence, applications from eligible workers who responded to the recruitment campaigns are still coming to hand. Since mid-1979, about 640 workers have resettled from abroad with the assistance of the scheme to date; of these some 400 may qualify for the special grant. Expenditure under the resettlement assistance scheme has risen from £138,000 in 1979 to £415,000 in 1980 and prospectively to £475,000 in 1981, due mainly to resettlement from abroad in which these campaigns referred to have been a major factor.
The Irish Congress of Trade Unions receives an annual grant from the Labour Vote towards costs incurred in its education, training and advisory services. It has been decided to supplement the level of this grant in 1981 arising from the enactment of the Safety in Industry Act, 1980. This Act makes compulsory the establishment of a consultative system between employers and employees on matters of occupational safety and health. The relevant part of the Act came into operation on 1 April 1981.
Workers were given the right to make within the following six months, up to 30 September 1981, the necessary appointments from their side to a safety committee or, if appropriate, having regard to the number of persons employed, to  appoint a safety representative. If the workers failed to exercise their right by 30 September an onus of making the appropriate arrangements falls on the employer to do so within the following three months, up to 31 December 1981.
All safety committees are joint employer-employee bodies. Safety representatives, regardless of who appoints them, are drawn from the workers' side. Because of the requirement in the Act as regards the involvement of workers in the systems provided for, ICTU and affiliated unions have undertaken extensive publicity and training programmes connected with these committees and safety representatives. The extra grant of £104,500 under the subhead is intended as a contribution by the State towards the additional costs incurred by the trade unions in this work.
The Work Experience Programme has been in existence since 1978. Average weekly participation in 1980 was approximately 2,122 young people ranging from about 1,800 to 2,500 persons per week. In 1981 to date, weekly participation has ranged from 2,050 to 3,032 with an average of 2,349 per week. The original allocation under subhead U for 1981 is £2.1 million and this has not proved adequate to cater for the demands being made on the programme.
Apart from the continuing success of the programme, I am glad to be able to say that about 80 per cent of the participants obtained employment during or on completion of their assignment under the programme — about 50 per cent of these with the employer who provided the work experience opportunity. The additional allocation of £300,000 now sought is a measure of the success of the programme.
As the House will be aware from the recent debate on the Youth Employment Agency Bill, it is the intention that the Work Experience Programme will be funded through the agency from 1982 onwards and will, I hope, be considerably expanded by it.
As regards the funding of the Youth Employment Agency and the training and employment of young persons, Deputies will appreciate from the discussion  on the Bill that it is necessary to provide for some preliminary expenditure in 1981, primarily in making arrangements for setting up the agency. A new subhead is accordingly included in this Supplementary Estimate for the purpose and a provision of £20,000 is proposed.
A token Supplementary Estimate only is required to finance the additional expenditure because appropriations-in-aid will exceed the provision provided for in the original Estimate. The increased appropriations-in-aid arise from receipts from the European Social Fund. I might mention that expenditure under both the work experience programme and the resettlement allowances scheme qualified for European Social Fund assistance, the effect of which is that the net cost to the Exchequer of these services is considerably less than the gross amounts provided for under the related subheads.
The Supplementary Estimate for the Office of the Minister for the Public Service is to meet additional expenditure on four subheads of the Vote — Salaries, Wages and Allowances; Office Machinery and other Office Supplies; Gaeleagras na Seirbhíse Poiblí and a grant-in-aid to the Institute of Public Administration. The total sum required for this additional expenditure is £615,000, of which £248,000 can be met from savings elsewhere on the Vote and from an increase in appropriations-in-aid. The net amount required, therefore, is £367,000.
On subhead A.1. — Salaries, Wages and Allowances — the extra amount required is £515,000. This is to meet the cost of pay increases and also of a number of new posts, mainly in the computer central unit of my Department, for which provision was not made in the original Estimate although in the case of the new posts most had been created before the Estimate was finalised. Provision for pay increases was, however, included in an allocation provided in the budget to cover possible pay increases in the public service generally.
An additional expenditure of £5,000 arises on subhead B.2. — Office Machinery and other Office Supplies — and is  needed to meet the cost of replacing certain equipment and to allow for increased prices generally.
Is mar gheall ar leathnú ar réimse agus saghsanna cursaí i nGaeleagras atá an cúig míle (£5,000) breise ag teastáil faoi fó-mhircheann F. den Vóta.
The remaining increase of £90,000 is in respect of the grant-in-aid to the Institute of Public Administration. Again, this is to meet the cost in 1981 of pay increases for which provision was not included in the original Estimate.
As I have mentioned, the various increases have been offset by savings on other subheads, mainly £62,000 on subhead B.1. — Travelling and Incidental Expenses — and by an extra £176,000 obtained as receipts under appropriations-in-aid.
I turn now to Vote 21, the Vote for Superannuation and Retired Allowances, for which a net sum of £2.51 million in addition to the sum of £27.355 million originally estimated, is required to meet unavoidable outgoings in the current year. This Vote covers the cost of pensions and lump sums for civil servants and widows of civil servants and the Judiciary together with the increased cost of pensions under the annual pensions revision.
As levels of expenditure are determined by factors not under the control of the Vote it is difficult to predict the pattern of future expenditure. The basic reason for the additional provision now sought is to meet the increased pension costs resulting from various pay awards, the full extent of which could not be foreseen by Departments at the time the original Estimate was prepared. Also, some of these awards involved payment of arrears for significant periods.
The printed Supplementary Estimate for Remuneration as circulated is incorrectly numbered. The Vote number is 54, not 53. The amount of £1.484 million is required to meet the cost of pay increases on six Votes. The Votes concerned and the amount required for each Vote are set out in Part III of the Supplementary Estimate. The amount sought is required to meet the following increases — (i) the cost of certain miscellaneous pay  increases and (ii) the increased cost of employers' pay-related social insurance contributions.
The 1981 Estimates Volume did not make provision for these increases as they did not arise in time for inclusion in the volume. The amount sought in the Supplementary Estimate is the cost of increases on the Votes mentioned, offset by savings on the Votes where such savings are available. In other Votes similar increases are either being met from savings or are being included as separate items in Supplementary Estimates for the Votes concerned. Particulars of such increases are also given in Part III of the Supplementary Estimate for Remuneration.
If Deputies require any further information on matters dealt with in these Supplementary Estimates I shall be pleased to furnish it.
Mr. Nolan Mr. Nolan
Mr. Nolan: It is a coincidence that we should be debating a Supplementary Estimate for the Department of Labour in a week in which there has been an announcement from the Central Statistics Office that the number of people unemployed has reached a figure of over 133,000, which is the highest rate in 45 years, or indeed since the year 1936. What has amazed us all, and indeed the public and Press, was that those figures were issued without any comment from any Government Minister or from the Taoiseach himself. It has been a tradition that when figures were released about unemployment, whether they showed an increase or decrease in the numbers unemployed, the Minister for Labour made some comment on why they were so high or why there had been a reduction. To my knowledge this is the first occasion — and I hope it is not setting a precedent for the future — that the Government have refused to comment on figures released from the Central Statistics Office regarding the number of people unemployed.
I am happy to say that the last occasion on which I had to comment on the numbers unemployed was in respect of the figures for May of this year when there was a reduction of 2,500. That is a far cry  from the announcement on Monday evening last that there had been an increase of almost 4,000. Statistically it is correct that since the present Government took office there has been an increase of 10,000 in the number of people unemployed. That has continued without comment. It is obvious that whatever programme was worked out by the Coalition parties, in consultation with one or two Independents, in order to form a Government, it has not been successful. I sincerely hope that the Government will take a look at the situation that arose here yesterday in which an Independent Deputy, Deputy Sherlock, was suspended from this House because of his concern about the situation obtaining in the meat processing industry. He made a very good point in so far as employees are concerned.
When we debate a subject like this we must examine all aspects of the problem. Therefore, we must think of the producer also. In this case the producer of the raw material to be processed is the farmer and we know that over the past couple of years farmers have had a lean time. Nobody in this House, outside it or anywhere else could blame a farmer for selling his cattle at the highest price he can obtain, and also the people — the barons, as they were referred to yesterday — to whom the cattle are exported. That is any salesman's job and one to which nobody can object. But, if that is the case, why has nothing been done about it?
Deputy Sherlock and the Minister for Agriculture were on television last night and there was disagreement about the subsidy paid by the EEC towards the export of beef on the hoof and processed beef. In that interview the Minister for Agriculture said that the difference in the subsidy between exporting beef on the hoof and exporting beef in processed form was only £18. If that is the position the matter should be considered again, particularly when we know that jobs are so scarce and that an increasing number of people are joining the dole queues. We have the necessary raw material for the products we export to Libya and elsewhere and we should take advantage of that. The same situation applies with  regard to vegetables and other foodstuffs. We have the land and the climate but in the past few months in my area and elsewhere plants have closed down. This has happened even in the case of a semi-State body such as Erin Foods. It is time for the Government to wake up and do something about this matter.
When debating a Supplementary Estimate for the Department of Labour we must come back to a major problem which was the concern of the leader of our party when he was Taoiseach, namely, industrial relations. I wish to correct a statement made by the Minister in this House and outside it. It was in connection with the intervention of Deputy Gene Fitzgerald, the then Minister for Finance and formerly Minister for Labour, and myself in the oil tanker drivers' dispute. If I recall correctly, the Minister said our intervention delayed settlement of that dispute. For the record I want to state exactly what was the situation.
Both parties were in dispute, the employers and the unions. The Labour Court called them to the table but one party refused to go on the terms of reference laid down. Strike notice was issued and the tankers were grounded. The Government then took a decision that proved correct, that I and the former Minister for Labour should do our part to bring both parties together. It was not a question of our suggesting a means of settling the strike or of specifying any money terms. We met both parties to try to get a formula. I did the same thing with two other Deputies in the Sugar Company dispute in Carlow. After four days of discussions between both parties, to the credit of the Labour Court they issued a recommendation within 24 hours and to the credit of the employers and the trade unions they acted very quickly. The unions were obliged to have a national ballot but the result was out within 24 hours and shortly afterwards the tankers were rolling again. I did not like the suggestion of the Minister that our intervention had delayed settlement of that dispute. Because of that Government intervention there was no panic  buying. People got their normal supplies of petrol and the economy did not break down. Our only objective was to get the parties together because a national problem had arisen. It was a good decision by the Government and I was very pleased to be a member of that team.
In discussing a Supplementary Estimate for this Department we must comment on industrial relations. We must improve our industrial relations and this must be a priority. I have always maintained that legislation in itself in this area is not the answer. However, I am sure all Members of the House will agree that there are defects in our present system and legislation can be effective in that connection.
It is remarkable that in the past ten years two out of every three strikes were unofficial. We cannot condone the action of workers, usually a minority, who, having joined a trade union and having elected their leaders, disregard not only that leadership but also the laid-down and agreed civilised procedures. Unofficial strikes undermine the trade union movement, they create problems of discipline and cause the entire trade union movement to be unjustly blamed. We must ask the question why there are so many unofficial strikes and we must look for the reasons. The answer may be lack of communication. It may be that in many firms there are not proper public relations officers. It is often the case that the person in a company who is delegated the job of public relations officer just waits in his office and has not proper consultation with the workers. There are also workers who do not communicate sufficiently with their unions.
Some months ago on television I saw a worker who was on unofficial strike being asked by an interviewer what he thought about the national understanding and its clauses. The worker said that the lads on the floor wanted to know nothing about that. Such problems can occur. The Minister, in answer to a question of mine and on some other occasion also, said in the House that he intended to introduce a Bill to amend the 1906 Act but only in so far as it refers to the coverage  of law for people in the public service. That is in the 1981 national understanding. He has now got the report of the Commission on Industrial Relations. It was regrettable that the ICTU withdrew from that over the very problem now facing the 1981 national understanding. Many unions made their submissions. I have not read that report in full but I am aware that it contains some excellent recommendations as regards the structure of the Labour Court and many other matters.
If the Minister wishes to rush this through the House that is OK, but I think the whole lot should be taken together. Amendments should be introduced to improve the machinery for solving disputes. That is not a criticism of the Labour Court because we all understand their difficulties. Two-thirds of our strikes are unofficial and many times they have brought about the eventual closure of industries. I and this House know that our future depends on good industrial relations. The Minister will have the support of this side of the House in anything he brings before this House which in our opinion will improve industrial relations.
Under subhead H. — Resettlement Allowances — the additional sum required is £255,000. The Minister said that this money is required because of the number of people we have re-imported, so to speak, into this country for the purpose of taking up employment. That is partly because through our educational system we were turning out too many doctors and too many Arts graduates and so on and we were not turning out enough technicians to man the jobs that are becoming available in this technological era. We will need to change our educational system to some extent. When we were in Government the Ministers for Finance, Industry and Commerce and Education and I met the HEA for discussion on this major matter, which involves not alone the Minister's Department but also other Departments. As I said in the debate on the Youth Employment Agency Bill, if we were in business in education and we started to turn out more people with medical degrees, Arts degrees and so on than were needed, we  would go out of business because nobody would want our product. That is looking at the matter from a business point of view. Today we need more technicians because we are in the micro-chip era. In this supplementary Estimate the Minister requires more money for people coming over here to take up jobs and needing resettlement grants.
The Minister stated that the House would be aware from the recent debate on the Youth Employment Agency Bill that it is the intention that the work experience programme will be funded through the agency from 1982 onwards and would be considerably expanded thereby. Does that mean that the work experience programme will be funded fully from the 1 per cent? Will the other agencies be fully funded from the 1 per cent? In other words, will the Minister save the Exchequer the £40 million plus that comes from the Central Fund or the Exchequer? I would like him to confirm that because it would appear that this 1 per cent is now to be used to fund several schemes that are already in operation and that the Youth Employment Agency will be the umbrella operation. We on this side of the House will be very concerned if this mini-budget introduced with the Youth Employment Agency Bill, which we welcome, is going to save the Central Fund a certain amount of money.
These are the points I wish to raise on this Supplementary Estimate. I have one other comment concerning subhead O— Grants for Trade Union Education and Advisory Services. I welcome that. The Minister must be aware that in 1980 the figure we had in the Estimate for the grant for trade union education was £300,000. We increased it in very difficult times from £300,000 to £450,000 and I am glad to see that the Minister has increased it still further, in particular knowing the reasons he had to do this.
Mr. Moore Mr. Moore
Mr. Moore: First of all, I congratulate the Minister on his appointment. I do not think that I have spoken in the House since he was appointed. If I were in a more friendly mood I would commiserate with him because he has a very tough job to do. Deputy Nolan referred to arbitration,  negotiation and conciliation. I feel that a Minister for Labour is often at the crossroads when an industrial dispute takes place. Should he interfere? The action that Deputy Nolan mentioned was justified. It ended the strike that he referred to. Any Minister must make up his mind as to the correct action, whether to interfere or otherwise. The only suggestion I can make to the Minister is to take whichever action settles the dispute.
Certainly I will not condemn the Minister on the industrial scene as it is today, but I suggest that these Supplementary Estimates have come too late with too little. I do not want to be a prophet of doom, but I believe that the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse could well ride next year unless the Government tackle the social problems facing them. Many of these problems originate in the industrial sector because of strikes. We can all condemn unofficial strikes and say that they should not occur. Of course they should not. People should not become sick either. Not to understand the unofficial strike is a disservice to industry and commerce and the people involved. Therefore, I urge the Minister to try to perfect the organisations such as the Labour Court and other conciliation bodies. We should, as we are doing here, give the ICTU more money to enable them to perfect their organisation. The FUE should be enabled to do likewise. On reading about negotiations arranged in order to settle a strike, very often one is appalled at the attitude of both sides. When an unofficial strike starts the television cameras are on the spot immediately. A striker is interviewed and he says that they will not give in unless they get all their demands. That man may not mean what he says then, but he feels that because he appears on television and says that he must stay with that view-point. When strikes start they should not be publicised as they are at present in the media. I am not saying that the media should close their eyes to the situation but we should not have utterances from either side, employer or workers, given in the heat of the moment. They keep on and on to try to justify not the demand  they sought but what they said to the public at large that day. Having said they will seek £10 or £20 a week, they feel they must stick to that. If they do not stick to it they feel they may lose face.
I see the Minister's point about technical abuses and there are people who will say he is quite right to take that line but, whatever the proper line may be, the groundwork must be done beforehand by perfecting our institutions, whether it be the Labour Court, some conciliation body or some negotiating body. If that is done we may some day become so broad-minded that we will have arbitration willingly accepted. After all, if both sides agree to something, that will save a great deal of suffering. With our mounting unemployed we must really get down to things and try to solve the problem or, as it were, ease the labour pains in the industrial sector at the moment. That is essential if the nation is to survive.
Sometimes it almost looks as if we are growing fatalistic about things. We say we can do nothing. Look at the English scene. Look at the motor companies there. That is the wrong approach. We want an Irish answer to Irish problems. We have not got the mighty industrial arm that Britain has.
I appeal to the Minister not to leave these important matters lying on his desk. We have mounting unemployment, some caused by worldwide recession and some by our own actions because of a certain indiscipline. All my life I have been a member of a trade union. I do not blame the trade unions for what happens because I have seen some dreadful management in my time, management which could manage nothing but trouble. I have known trade unions who worked hard to bring about a better nation from the industrial and commercial point of view.
In fairness to the Minister he is up against it at the moment but, having said that, I will not excuse the Government for many of the mistakes that have been made. First of all we had the wild promises. When we were in Government people on the Government benches now used come in here and screech about increasing unemployment. They did not examine the reasons for it. They simply  blamed the Government. It was a silly thing to do. We, in opposition now, are not rushing in to condemn the Government for causing unemployment. We condemn it for not dealing with the problem.
I am particularly interested in the employment of youth. Unless the Government wakes up and takes strong measures to reduce youth unemployment we will have some very serious trouble here. We have seen the terrible situation in the North. Had the Northern economy been strong enough to absorb the people there who wanted to work — I am sure the vast majority did — they would not have today the terrible conditions that exist there. The right to employment is a basic right and if that right is denied disaster must inevitably follow because those concerned feel the injustice. All of us would wish to see injustice removed and, if our Government do not change the system and give a lead, we will end up next year in dire trouble. When I hear the Head of the Government going on a crusade to change the Constitution and look around at all the young people with no jobs I wish he would get his priorities right and do something to bring about a better society here within our present Constitution.
If I had more time I would examine the figures in more detail. There are moneys that are not being spent. After the budget next year I and my colleagues will devote a great deal of time to discovering why all the moneys left there by the last Government have not been expended. We are dealing here with Supplementary Estimates and some of these are too little and too late. We have just passed a Youth Employment Bill in the hope that it will do some good. I am somewhat cynical about this myself.
The Minister will have to stand up to his reactionary Fine Gael colleagues. If the Minister allows himself to be used by the Minister for Finance, who is a complete reactionary, the wages of his weakness will be social unrest such as was never seen here before. The unemployment in some continental countries is as low as 5 per cent. The Minister is probably doing his best. The top priority is  unemployment. But there are other social problems. Day after day more jobs are being lost and people are losing hope. When they voted in the last election and Fianna Fáil were defeated — I do not say the Government parties won the election, but we lost it——
Mr. Kavanagh Mr. Kavanagh
Mr. Kavanagh: We are here and you are there.
Mr. Moore Mr. Moore
Mr. Moore: The Minister may say it comes to the same thing but I do not think it does.
Mr. Kavanagh Mr. Kavanagh
Mr. Kavanagh: It is democracy.
Mr. Moore Mr. Moore
Mr. Moore: I appeal to the Minister to stand up to his reactionary Fine Gael colleagues. They have brought in the most hidebound, out-of-date economic policy. Some years ago the Labour Party brought out a document entitled “The New Republic” and I could not believe my eyes when I read it. I could not believe that any party claiming to be socialist could suggest using outdated socialist principles which had been cast aside by practically every country in Europe. Today unfortunately their policy is much the same. They do not know where they are going because they have not brought forward any worthwhile document. They brought forward the Gaiety Theatre document. During the great years of that theatre, we saw many great comedians there, but we never saw as many as earlier this year when the Coalition went to the Gaiety Theatre to unite on policy. In coalitions, the best policies are thrown out in order to reach agreement. Edmund Burke, in so many words, said about coalition government “Find the lowest common denominator on which you can unite”. The best of the policies of Fine Gael and of Labour have been shed because they were found to be too radical for the other party. They settled on a policy of laissez faire, not intending to do anything drastic but to promise much. We now see the result of that policy. Unemployment has reached a figure never reached before and which will, I hope, never be reached again.
When we get back into power we will  tackle the problems, especially of the young boy or girl leaving school and looking for employment. There is at present little hope of employment for this category and it gives me no pleasure to have to say that.
The Minister has been in his office for only a few months and I will have more to say after the budget. He has the goodwill to do what is necessary, but will not be allowed to. He must assert himself over the Fine Gael party, or they will bring him down along with themselves. They always were, and still are, a conservative party and a conservative party will not solve the problems facing this country.
I am not satisfied about the amount of money allocated under the Vote. A further point is: has the money allocated to job experience been expended? If the Minister can answer that it has been, then enough was not expended on it. We are now in the depths of great unemployment but will reach a stage when this process will be reversed. Job experience gives some hope to the young people. The Minister should re-examine those figures. He may be right and I may be wrong, because I have not had much chance to examine the figures. But every nerve must be strained to find employment for our youth. Could the trade unions and the employers initiate a scheme of trade apprenticeships? I know very well that trade unions are rather jealous about not producing too many apprentices who would qualify while there was not employment for them. Young people trained in a trade get some wealth into their hands. The time will come when a job will be available and they will be trained for it. In the city at present there are many untrained young people who, even if prosperity came tomorrow, would find it hard to get employment. Under the present Government's policy, the unemployed are becoming the unemployable. The little training offered them is not enough.
I pay tribute to AnCO and the other training bodies for their excellent work. However, they are not being properly financed. A new body should be set up,  composed of trade unions, employers and the Government, to ensure that any young person who wants to go into a trade will have that opportunity. Third level education is availed of generally by only one section of the population.
Acting Chairman (Mr. G. Brady) Acting Chairman (Mr. G. Brady)
Acting Chairman (Mr. G. Brady): The Deputy has five minutes.
Mr. Moore Mr. Moore
Mr. Moore: Look at the amount we spend on third level and on primary and vocational level education. There is a great difference there. Unless we spend more on the training of young people in vocational trades, as against the present emphasis on the academic, many of our young will have no future. When we come back into power we will prepare a scheme which will offer hopeful prospects to young people of good employment and ensure that they are trained in some trade.
Included in the Public Service Estimate is the amount spent on bringing people-back from abroad who are highly trained. We can say with credit that we are building up a good labour force in the higher echelon of labour, people who engage in the highly technical jobs. That is what we must aim at. It has always been Fianna Fáil policy that third level education would be available to all who want it and who have the ability to benefit from it. Hopelessness is facing our youth at present, but I would like to be able to tell them that we will change this system and ensure that they get jobs.
One-third of our population live in this city and the poorest of the poor are found in our great cities. The problems of Greater Dublin are vast. I do not intend to be parochial when I say that this city must be given more money in order to train the many thousands of young unemployed people who have little hope of getting employment. A Government should create conditions in which employment will be generated and the economy will rise. We must pass a vote of no confidence in the Government, on the unemployment situation alone, although they have failed in many other ways also. Their greatest failure has been in the field of employment where they  failed miserably to project any form of image. People are losing faith, not alone in the Government, but in our democratic institutions. When that happens, it is time to look out for trouble.
Acting Chairman Acting Chairman
Acting Chairman: We must finish this debate at 4.30 p.m. I call upon the Minister.
Minister for Labour (Mr. Kavanagh) Liam Kavanagh
Minister for Labour (Mr. Kavanagh): I have been posed a great number of problems. In one minute I could not possibly begin to make a case on some of the points put forward. But if we agree on nothing else, we all agree that unemployment is by far the greatest single problem facing the country. One would have to agree that it did not start on 21 July this year. It started with the onset of the recession in 1979 and there have been sharp increases in unemployment figures up to now. There may be apparent reductions for seasonal reasons from month to month, but when compared with a similar period in the previous year there has been a much smaller reduction than would normally take place. Unemployment figures are rising rapidly and have been for the past two years. It is not a problem in Ireland alone but in the whole Western world. In the European Community alone, the fact that ten million people are unemployed is causing great concern.
Mr. Nolan Mr. Nolan
Mr. Nolan: Did the Minister answer the question in relation to the Youth Employment Agency Bill?
Mr. Kavanagh Mr. Kavanagh
Mr. Kavanagh: Yes. I answered it in my Second Stage speech. The situation is that the agency will be taking over policy making and the funding of the programme for all schemes.
Acting Chairman Acting Chairman
Acting Chairman: We are under orders to finish at 4.30 p.m. so I will have to call on the Minister to conclude on this.
Vote put and agreed to.
Dáil Éireann 331 Supplementary Estimates, 1981 (Resumed). Vote 42: Labour.