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Frustrating to witness lack of government on jobs: Toibín

16 February, 2012

Speaking in the Dáil today on the government’s Action Plan for Jobs, Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on enterprise, jobs and innovation, Peadar Toibín said:
“The jobs crisis is the largest crisis this state faces. We have 440,000 on the live register. We have seen long term unemployment rise by 14.5% or 200,000 people since the government came to power.
“There is a lost generation with 45% of 15-19 year olds and 33% of 20-24 year olds unemployed.
“As a new TD it is immensely frustrating to witness the lack of action on jobs. Behind the mountain of spin and press release there is little or no substance.
“At the launch an apparently confused Taoiseach said that the government would create 100,000 net new jobs.
“The Minister for State for Training and Skills on Primetime said the government would create 300,000 or maybe 400,000 jobs gross. Yet the Taoiseach had no targets for reducing unemployment.
“In business we say: ‘You can’t manage if you can’t measure against targets.’ How else will the government know if its plans are working or not, what changes to make, what economic levers to pull?
“In announcing the plan the minister was at pains to point out that it would be delivered within existing budgets and that no other finance was available.
“The budget for Enterprise Ireland has been reduced 14.3% since 2009. The budget for City and County Enterprise Boards has been reduced 30% over the same period. The budget for IDA has been reduced by €10 million since last year.
“The government aim to create up to 400,000 jobs on a reduced budget. This would be difficult in a period of economic growth. Given the policies of this government this is akin to defying the laws of economics.
“What is needed is a Keynesian type counter-cyclical stimulation. We need to boost, not quench, domestic growth. This can be down by two ways.
“The first is for the government to invest in infrastructure that will increase the state’s competitiveness. This includes investment in broadband, sustainable energy provision, transport infrastructure and education. These investments create jobs in the short term and they increase competitiveness in the long term
“The second is to create an environment in which domestic business can thrive. At the heart of this is competitiveness and reform of areas such as upward only rent, VAT, government tenders and access to credit.
“The third is to reform the enterprise development sector where entrepreneurs have access to mentoring training grants and a neutral professional space in which to receive customers. “And the forth is development of the all-Ireland economy. It should be noted that out of a 124 page document only seven lines reflected the need for an all-Ireland approach to job creation and growth. Invest NI, IDA, Enterprise Ireland have offices all around the world, this duplication costs money. They should be merged and the savings harnessed to increase their output.
“We welcome the fact that the Taoiseach has taken responsibility for the implementation of the action plan across government departments. This is a heavy responsibility that we will not let him shirk.”

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