Dole queues grow as more than 200 people a day have lost their jobs since the start of the year.

Queuing for weekly Social Welfare payments has become a reality for 49,000 people this year, who previously were in employment.

Ireland’s economic situation now is even worse than in 2008, with almost 10,000 more people having been made redundant in the first seven months of this year than in the whole of last year.

During the Celtic Tiger years it is estimated that small and medium sized businesses created between half a million and a million jobs in Ireland, and now these are the companies most affected by the downturn. 

The government is running a pilot scheme whereby unemployed people can keep their social welfare benefits and volunteer to work in businesses. Companies which employ less than ten people are excluded from the scheme however. Patricia Callan from the Small Firms Association says this doesn't make sense, 

It’s not really solving the problem...800,000 people are employed in small businesses.

Mark Fielding of ISME (Irish Small and Medium Enterprises) says there are two options available to the government, 

A reduction of PRSI which after all is a tax on labour, or allow people to retain their dole money when they take on new employment.

Is the government in a position to help these businesses? 

Judging by today’s Exchequer figures, the State needs every bit of tax income it can get.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 5 August 2009. The reporter is Sharon Tobin.