Fianna Fáil Jobs Spokesperson Dara Calleary has described the government’s latest Action Plan on Jobs as a PR exercise that ignores long-term unemployed, ignores Ireland’s competitiveness challenge and offers pure lip service to the regions.
Deputy Calleary commented: “Once again we are being treated to a spinfest around job creation, a spinfest that frustrates job seekers and that ignores fundamental problems within our country.
“The first Jobs Action Plan was published in 2012, the recent CSO figures suggest that there are over 80,000 people who have been on the Live Register since then and are still on it today. What is being done for them? What is being done for the 165,000 people who have been signing on for more than a year? Spin is not a solution. We need focused training and re-skilling schemes that are targeted towards the skills base of these people and that offer them an opportunity to achieve sustainable long-term unemployment. The current activation programmes, which account for an additional 87,000 people, do not address these needs.
“Ireland has a competitiveness challenge. The government points to the record job creation of IDA Ireland, of Enterprise Ireland and of the other agencies but is ignoring the fact that for every two new jobs supported by IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland in 2014, another 1 job was lost. The National Competitiveness Council has pointed out on several occasions that our cost base, especially our Utility and Service costs, are too high yet the government have not acted.
“I have been pointing out for the past three years that our regions are falling behind. The tentative recovery in the economy is simply not being felt in large parts of the country. Yet the government continues to stand by while only 37% of IDA supported job investments in 2014 were located outside our two main cities. A proper regional investment strategy will involve a commitment to preparing and supporting regional skills profiles, an aggressive investment programme to upgrade infrastructure, especially broadband infrastructure, and the reintroduction of targets for job creation in the regions. The Taoiseach says the regions need more time, he has had four years to deliver, how much more does he need?”