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Snippet Contents:

Much progress has been made in the field of education in the past two decades. For example, only 68.2% of students in the 2001 DEIS cohort stayed in school up to and including leaving certificate. That number rose to 82.7% for the 2009 cohort, with more than 93% of those students completing the junior certificate. The DEIS plan has set ambitious goals for 2019 and expects to see a number of successes in higher education enrolments.
Similarly, progress has been made in creating employment opportunities for citizens and migrant workers. In March 2011, 441,000 persons were on the live register. That figure has essentially halved. The corresponding figure for October 2017 was 236,000, down more than 40,000 in one year. Just as importantly, the number of long-term claimants decreased by more than 23,000, or 18%, in the same period. These live register figures confirm that people in every field of employment, regardless of skill set and postcode and including those with professional and technical backgrounds, are getting employment. Employment opportunities are opening up for all. The reduction in numbers on the live register was greater for plant and machinery operatives - down 16.3% - than for those in professional and technical occupations, which figure decreased by 10%.
For many reasons, the Government believes it is premature to proceed with this ambiguous and flawed legislation. I must recommend against its acceptance while stating that my colleagues in government and I strongly share the view that no individual or group should be subjected to discrimination. I will keep the House updated on our extensive programme of work tackling disadvantage and providing opportunities for people.