Thursday, 2 December 2010
Dáil Éireann Debate
22. Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the steps he is taking to combat the continuing high level of unemployment in view of the fact that the live register figures have now been in excess of 400,000 since June 2009 and ongoing announcements of job losses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45546/10]
Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): Specific activation policies, or measures targeted at the unemployed are the responsibility of my colleague the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills, Ms. Mary Coughlan TD, through skills provision, employment programmes and work placements. Questions relating to the specific programmes should be addressed to the Tánaiste and her Department. The role of my Department is to ensure that we have the right policies in place that will support and grow our enterprise base in order to facilitate both job creation and job retention.
The State Development agencies, Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland, and the County and City Enterprise Boards are continuing to drive and promote enterprise development, and consequently employment creation in our economy. IDA Ireland continues to market and promote Ireland for inward investment. Indeed, earlier this week, on 30 November, global management consultancy Accenture, an IDA client company that already employs 1,300 people in Ireland, announced the creation of an additional 100 jobs at a new centre in Dublin.
Enterprise Ireland is actively focused on the creation of new jobs through supporting entrepreneurs setting up new high potential start-up companies, and the retention and creation of new jobs in existing companies. The agency also continues to work with community groups around the country to develop community enterprise centres designed to foster micro enterprises. The County and City Enterprise Boards support the micro enterprise sector — businesses with 10 employees or less — in the start-up and expansion phases and promotes entrepreneurship at local level.
Job creation is a key priority of Government policy. The Government is working on a multi-faceted approach focusing on enterprise development and job creation. In September, the Taoiseach launched the five-year integrated Government plan for trade, tourism and investment aimed at generating 300,000 jobs. The new plan, “Trading and Investing in a Smart Economy”, is the first integrated strategy to promote overseas trade, tourism and investment. With this new strategy, the Government aims to position Ireland for strong export-led growth to 2015, resulting in high levels of job creation. The plan aims to create over 150,000 direct new jobs (IDA Ireland 75,000, Enterprise Ireland 60,000, tourism 15,000) in manufacturing, tourism and internationally trading services, with another 150,000 spin-off jobs.
In addition to delivering programmes through the Enterprise Development agencies, my Department also works across Government to ensure that Ireland regains competitiveness, including cost competitiveness, thus improving the business environment and enabling companies to successfully compete internationally and grow jobs.
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