Government jobs plan to focus on start-up sector

Thursday 27 February 2014 21.38
The Government published its latest action plan for job creation
The Government published its latest action plan for job creation

The Government has published its latest action plan for job creation.

It said it aims to focus on entrepreneurship and foreign direct investment as a means to boost employment.

Ireland's unemployment figure has improved recently, but it is still above the European average and a source of concern.

This morning's special Cabinet meeting focused on boosting the building sector and getting unemployed construction workers back into jobs.

The Government is also looking at ways of creating sustainable jobs in other parts of the economy.

Its 2014 action plan focuses on the start-up sector, which it said two-thirds of new jobs come from.

What has been described as an 'X-Factor' style competition to find each county's best entrepreneur is among the measures.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton published the plan this morning.

Mr Kenny said he expects Ireland's unemployment level will reach the European average very shortly.

He said the economy is in a very different environment to that when the Government came to power and exiting the bailout was only "the end of the beginning".

The Tánaiste said job creation needed to be done on a cross-Government basis.

Mr Gilmore said 2013 had seen job growth and the latest Live Register figures reflected further positive change.

Minister Bruton said the Government could "do better" in encouraging entrepreneurship.

He said more resources would be deployed to help the IDA target new growth areas.

Speaking later on RTÉ's Today with Sean O'Rourke, Mr Bruton said the latest figures show the Government's planned approach to job creation is working.

However, he also acknowledged that over 12% of the population are out of work and that Ireland still has high emigration.

Commenting on the creation of 35 new overseas positions with the IDA, Minister Bruton said the IDA would be targeting emerging markets and new sectors where growth opportunities had been identified.

He said the Government recognised that entrepreneurship is what will drive new growth.

Reacting to the jobs plan Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary said it contains 380 actions very few of which are measureable, and very few of which will result in direct job creation.

He said nothing is being done to help small companies get financing, and the plan comes against a background of increased taxation in porperty tax and employers PRSI.

He said the programme was "spin driven".

Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty said there was an element of déjà vu with the Government's "love affair" with the property sector.

He said there needs to be a focus on long-term indigenous jobs and expressed caution about the renewed focus on the construction sector.