The number of foreign nationals applying for unemployment benefit has increased by almost 80 per cent over the past year, new figures show.
The increase has been felt most sharply by members of former EU accession states where numbers have jumped by some 144 per cent since September of last year.
Overall, a breakdown of live register figures for last month by the Central Statistics Office shows a total of 240,000 people were signing on last month, an increase of almost 50 per cent compared to the same period year.
Of this, the vast majority were Irish (83 per cent, or 199,000) and the remainder were foreign nationals (17 per cent, or 41,200). The CSO's figures - based on data supplied by the Department of Social and Family Affairs - do not provide a breakdown by nationality.