1. The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right to work, which includes the right of everyone to the opportunity to gain his living by work which he freely chooses or accepts, and will take appropriate steps to safeguard this right.
2. The steps to be taken by a State Party to the present Covenant to achieve the full realization of this right shall include technical and vocational guidance and training programmes, policies and techniques to achieve steady economic, social and cultural development and full and productive employment under conditions safeguarding fundamental political and economic freedoms to the individual.
State Report paragraphs 91-143
At the time of the State’s last examination in 2002, the Committee ‘noted with appreciation’ the decline in the overall unemployment rate which stood at 4.3 per cent in 2001, with the long-term unemployment rate at approximately 1.2 per cent in the same year.1 Following the economic downturn, both of these rates increased significantly, reaching highs in 2012 of 15 per cent and 9.2 respectively.2 In the second quarter of 2014, the overall unemployment rate stood at 11.8 per cent while the long-term unemployment rate measured almost seven per cent.3 The percentage of people aged 18 to 59 years living in jobless households in Ireland rose from nine per cent in 2008 to 16 per cent in 2012.4 In real terms, this means that in the second quarter of 2014 there were 146,500 people classified as long-term unemployed and 103,600 as short-term unemployed.5 The EU Country Specific Recommendations highlighted the unequal labour market participation of women’ who represented only 67.2 per cent of the labour force in 2013 compared with a male participation rate of 83.4 per cent.6
1 UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (2002) Concluding Observations of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Ireland, Geneva: OHCHR, p.2.
2 Central Statistics Office (2012) Measuring Ireland’s Progress 2012, Cork: CSO.
3 Central Statistics Office (2014) Quarterly National Household Survey: Quarter 2 2014, Cork: CSO.
4 Central Statistics Office (2012) Measuring Ireland’s Progress 2012, Cork: CSO.
5 Central Statistics Office (2014) Quarterly National Household Survey: Quarter 2 2014, Cork: CSO.
6 European Commission (2014) Recommendation for a COUNCIL RECOMMENDATION on Ireland’s 2014 national reform programme and delivering a Council opinion on Ireland’s 2014 stability programme, Brussels: European Commission, p.5.