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Strabane still jobless blackspot 40 years since George Cunningham flagged problems

George Cunningham (right) protesting against the lack of jobs in Strabane in the early 1970s. Tomorrow's labour market report for December will likely show the County Tyrone town is still an unemployment blackspot.

George Cunningham (right) protesting against the lack of jobs in Strabane in the early 1970s. Tomorrow's labour market report for December will likely show the County Tyrone town is still an unemployment blackspot.

  • by Kevin Mullan
 

It’s four decades since Strabane labourer George Cunningham raised the issue of local joblessness in a television interview but it’s likely the imminent release of the latest labour market figures will reveal the County Tyrone town is still an unemployment blackspot.

Mr Cunningham, who passed away aged 90 three years ago, blamed Strabane’s local authority for not doing enough for local people in terms of creating jobs and allocating housing fairly.

He made the points in the early 1970s during a protest outside the Town Hall.

“We’ve got a council in Strabane that doesn’t give work to the people that were born in the town and they don’t give out the housing to the people that was born in this town.

“I’ve been put out several times and had to go to the Minister in Stormont to fight for fair play,” Mr Cunningham told Charles Witherspoon of UTV.

He was joined by fellow protestors who held placards bearing the slogans “We demand Strabane Work for Strabane Men” and “Council choose to ignore own resolution regarding local labour.”

Mr Cunningham’s statements ended up being broadcast around the world because television producers couldn’t understand him or found his delivery amusing.

A clip of the unemployment protest was aired on the ITV TV outtake series It’ll be Alright on the Night.”

 

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