“The publication of the Government’s Action Plan on Jobs is welcome however the plan contains a significant lack of imagination and focuses more on organisational changes rather than stimulus measures to create jobs,” Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Willie O’Dea TD has said.

Deputy O’Dea said: “Dissolving the 35 city and county enterprise boards and establishing a new network of Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) in each Local Authority appears to be an unnecessary exercise in optics that will disrupt the system that could simply be strengthened and provided with additional funding. Our pre-budget submission showed how Government could provide extra support for city and county enterprise boards.

“Minister Bruton has acknowledged there is no ‘big bang’ in this plan to deal with the unemployment crisis.  He is underselling it – there is absolutely no new thinking at all. There has been no new funding announced alongside this plan and most worrying is the lack of any specific job creation target for 2012.  The unemployment crisis is the most significant problem facing the country right now and it must be addressed.  But this is the Action Plan for Jobs 2012, so why is there is no figure for jobs to be created this year?  It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the Government realises the inadequacy of the plan and wants to avoid highlighting this by publishing how many jobs they think it will actually create.

“I am particularly concerned that the temporary Partial Credit Guarantee for small businesses has been announced so many times that businesses would be under the impression they can access it already.  They will be very disappointed.

“The Temporary Partial Loan Guarantee Scheme and the Micro Finance Loan Scheme have been announced countless times over the past year.  But it now transpires that these two initiatives may not be in place until the middle of the year at the earliest.

“The Government’s document simply draws every measure that has been announced over the past few years, including by the last administration, into one document.  The inclusion of an implementation plan is to be welcomed but we will be watching this plan closely to see that targets are met in the months ahead and not let slip as has been the case already with this Government.  All political parties must work together to tackle the jobs crisis and Fianna Fáil is determined to continue to play our part in this effort.”