Taoiseach Brian Cowen has rejected an assertion by Labour Leader Eamon Gilmore that unemployment is a low priority for the Government.
Brian Cowen said the Government had increased the number of training places for the unemployed.
He said jobs were created on the basis of a more competitive economy and predicted net employment creation next year on the basis of current Government strategy.
Eamon Gilmore said the situation was hopelessly depressing for people out of work.
He described as 'socially unsustainable' the situation in which one in three young men was on the dole.
Mr Gilmore criticised what he referred to as the Government's residual theory of employment and encouraged the Taoiseach to come up with a strategy to get the unemployed back to work.