NERI Seminar Dublin: Responding to the Unemployment Crisis - What Role for Active Labour Market Policies?

Past event

Date and time

12 November 2012

On 12th November 2012, the NERI hosted a half-day conference titled "Responding to the Unemployment Crisis".

The presentations can be downloaded from this page.

At an early stage of the current recession, the National Economic and Social Council succinctly summarised Ireland's situation as being one where a five-part crisis was being experienced. In a short space of time, Ireland experienced a banking, fiscal, economic, social and reputational crisis; with all five components closely related to one another. Since then, both independently and as part of a multilateral exchequer bailout, Government policy has been focused on addressing and resolving this multi-part crisis. While in all cases the work continues, it is clear that progress has been asymmetric across the five components with the focus on banking reform, exchequer deficit reduction, rebuilding our borrowing credentials and implementing the minutiae of various Memorandum's of Understanding outshining any progress on addressing the labour market and socio-economic fallouts from the recession. Judged over the longer-term, it seems likely that Ireland will restore it banking system, balance its exchequer finances, regain its international/market reputation and return to economic growth, yet be left with a number of serious socio-economic scars from the recession that will have received limited public policy attention despite their long-lasting impact for individuals, households and communities. Chief among these is the unemployment crisis; the focus of this research paper.


Having reviewed the nature and composition of that crisis, the paper highlights that responding to the unemployment crisis necessitates an approach which is framed in the context of the composition of the unemployed, the likely future shape of the labour market and the likely long duration of the unemployment crisis. In particular it considers the role of active labour market policies and highlights the need for these to be comprehensive given this crisis. The paper also addresses the role of Community Employment and argues for a reform of that system which would underpin its viability and purpose for the longer-term.

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