Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs Dara Calleary TD says the Government is only waking up to the two-tier recovery now that a General Election is looming. Over the past four years, the Taoiseach and Jobs Minister have failed to address the jobs crisis outside the capital, but now that the scale of public disillusionment is sinking in, have decided to launch a series of regional jobs press conferences.
Deputy Calleary commented, “This Government is taking a deeply cynical approach to the jobs crisis in this country. After years of denying the existence of a two-tier recovery, it now launches a nationwide PR initiative with less than 8 months to a General Election.
“Enda Kenny and Richard Bruton’s record on job creation falls well short of what’s needed in the regions. This Government’s focus has centred almost entirely on the capital and the commuter belt, with little or no investment outside of the greater Dublin area. Today’s PR announcement by the Taoiseach comes following years of inaction and ambivalence. The Midlands has not featured on the Government’s radar up until this point, and that is clearly demonstrated by the failure of the Taoiseach and the Minister to bring IDA investment to the region. Since 2012, there has only been 1 IDA site visit to Longford, 2 to Laois and 5 to Offaly.
“Not only has the Government failed to invest in the Midlands, it has been unable to improve employment figures there. The latest CSO stats reveal a fall in the number of people at work in the region. Despite consistent warnings from my party about this regional imbalance, the Government has refused to take action until now – when an election is in sight.
“Today’s “action plan” is a deeply cynical move by an out of touch and disinterested Government with some of the initiatives already having been announced. What we need is a robust jobs strategy which will create and secure jobs into the future, not a thrown together PR campaign designed to buy votes. It is going to take many years of investment and targeted policies to combat the impact of the Government’s silo approach to its jobs strategy, not more spin”.