Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation Dara Calleary TD has accused the Government of adopting a blinkered approach to job creation following the publication of the latest report by the National Competitiveness Council (NCC), which exposes Ireland’s continued competitiveness deficiencies.

“Ireland’s Competitiveness Challenge 2015 report rips apart the Government narrative that it can be trusted to propel forward any balanced regional recovery. It is very much the case of leading from behind, as it continues to fail to address the faltering competitiveness levels that continue to undermine Ireland’s ability to compete internationally”, explained Deputy Calleary.

“This latest NCC report casts a long shadow over the much publicised capital investment plan by calling for significant capital infrastructure “above and beyond” expenditure committed. Considering Ireland’s 2015 IMB world competitiveness ranking for infrastructure dropped 4 places to 24th this year, the Government is showing a total lack of ambition to invest in delivering essential infrastructure.

“Severe criticism is levelled at the sluggish roll out of the national broadband plan to all regions, with much more ambitious roll out completion targets urgently needed.  Unless there is a change of Government policy here, any future regional jobs growth and improved competitiveness will be severely curtailed.

“Alarmingly, the council points to the high levels of structural unemployment, along with reduced employment participation rates and net emigration, which it says is damaging  Ireland’s competitiveness.  Under this government, the brain drain continues unabated. In the 12 months to April 2015, it is estimated that nearly 40,000 third level graduates emigrated from our shores. Since this Government took up office, an estimated 149,000 third level graduates have left Ireland reflecting the outflow and erosion of our qualified graduate base.

“These latest competitiveness warnings should act as a catalyst to spur on a more balanced regional jobs growth and development.  These competitiveness deficiencies must be addressed.  This Government’s narrow concentration is not viable in the long term and new policies must be adopted to ensure the regions are not left behind”.