Irish leader Enda Kenny launches new jobs plans - unemployment now at 14.5 percent
Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Kenny’s government has unveiled an ambitious action plan to create 200,000 jobs in eight years. It’s a massive slice off the current 439,600 who are unemployed, but if it succeeds there will be still more people jobless in 2020 than there were when the figure was under 200,000 in 2005.
Employers and trade unions welcomed the plan, but they also emphasized it had some deficiencies.
The government announced on Monday two four-year enterprise cycles, with the creation of 100,000 jobs in each four-year period.
Kenny claimed radical improvements in the way government and business interact would result in a much-needed workforce boost in two swathes by 2020.
What he called the Action Plan on Jobs includes restructuring the country’s enterprise agencies, helping more small businesses win big contracts and improving the performance of indigenous companies.
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Kenny said the initiative has become the third major strand of the government’s economic plan to get Ireland working, after rebuilding the banks’ capacity to lend and cutting the budget deficit.
“Through this action plan we will target different sectors with new supports. We will radically improve the way the government and business interact by cutting both costs and red tape,” Kenny said.
Kenny vowed to personally oversee the implementation of the plan. He maintained his department will work closely with other departments to make absolutely sure the necessary changes are made and that results are achieved and jobs created.
Kenny, clearly reacting to positive encouragement in New York last week by former President Bill Clinton, said Ireland would target key sectors, produce more world class companies and attract new investment that will create more jobs.
“By attracting investment, we can grow our businesses both here at home and for the world market. The more contracts Irish companies win in the global market, the more jobs,” he said.
More than 270 actions were mapped out by the government in 15 departments and 36 state agencies. They include the establishment of a one-stop shop for small businesses by dissolving county and city enterprise boards and creating a central office to work with local authorities.
A €150 million development capital scheme will also aim to fill the funding gap for mid-size, high-growth indigenous companies. A loan guarantee scheme and a €100 million micro-finance loan scheme will also go live shortly.
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