Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation Niall Collins has said the 2017 action plan for jobs is nothing more than a reheated dinner of previously announced plans.

“The Minister in her rehash of previous plans and proposals demonstrated her total willingness to go heavy on rhetoric and regurgitation rather than deal with the systemic challenges facing Ireland.

“This morning was an opportunity for the Government to address the glaringly obvious omissions in their enterprise strategies.

“Minister Mitchell O’Connor has once again failed to recognise in the Government’s jobs’ strategy that it is absolutely essential to seek agreement at EU level for the review of state aid rules for enterprises.

Across the 105 pages printed in what can only be seen as a lazy attempt to dispel the notion that Minister is at sea in her portfolio, no reference is made to this vital policy change that is needed to protect businesses affected by the Brexit decision.

“Securing increases to the current de minimis thresholds is a vital policy action to protect enterprises and exporters hit by a hard Brexit as a transitional aid measure.

“Little or nothing was said this morning about the need to close the competitiveness gap with the UK. This is shocking considering the recent analysis by the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) in “Competitiveness Challenge 2016.

“The NCC has clearly outlined that Ireland is lagging in several global rankings, significantly behind the UK in competitiveness metrics and in the ease of doing business.

“As the UK authorities continue their attempts to entice enterprises away from Ireland through competitive business taxation measures, the Government should be targeting our competitiveness deficits with coordinated plans and strategies.

Irish competitiveness deficits remain across many cost metrics including: business services, insurance, infrastructure bottlenecks, broadband download speeds, spiralling childcare costs, as well as skills shortages.

“The NCC’s recommendation to undertake a benchmarking exercise comparing Ireland’s competitiveness with the UK must be accepted and implemented without delay. We cannot leave ourselves hostage to fortune.

“Finally, it’ concerning that in developing this Action Plan on Jobs, the Minister has not saw fit to review Enterprise 2025, her department’s flagship strategy.

“Researched and written before Brexit, it’s now wholly inadequate and must be revised. It’s these glaring omissions from the Action Plan for Jobs that is causing deep concern among Ireland’s business community,” concluded Collins.