Page last updated at 11:14 GMT, Wednesday, 1 July 2009 12:14 UK

Irish joblessness at 13-year high

Cranes in Ireland
The collapse in the construction sector sparked the recession

Unemployment in the Irish Republic was 11.9% in June, the highest rate since April 1996, according to the Central Statistics Office.

The number of people claiming jobless benefits has almost doubled in the past year to 418,592.

Ireland's rate is still far from being the worst in the European Union, with Spain still significantly ahead.

Both countries have seen deep recessions as a result of over-reliance on a housing and construction boom.

The Irish Republic was the first eurozone country to enter recession when it did so in the first half of 2008.

In June, 21,721 more people were claiming unemployment benefits than had been in May.

The government has been forced to make drastic cuts in public spending and raise taxes to balance the growing budget deficit.

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