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Plans to facilitate the creation of 20,000 jobs must be matched by government funding – Deputy Jonathan O’Brien

23 April, 2013 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD

Sinn Féin education spokesperson, Deputy Jonathan O’Brien, has said there is understandable scepticism regarding his week’s announcement by the government that it plans to facilitate the creation of 20,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector by 2016.

The Cork North Central TD was commenting on the plan launched by Ministers Richard Bruton and Ruairí Quinn, which is supposed to help manufacturing companies apply for support from a specific start-up fund for help in capital investment, research and development.

“It is very important,” Deputy O’Brien said, “that long-term strategies are put in place to ensure our education system is adaptable enough so that people have the opportunity to up-skill and re-skill in order to ensure a well-trained workforce that can avail of employment opportunities.

“There is understandable scepticism and considering the government’s track record since coming to power, a fear that this announcement will amount to little more than spin.

“The government has done little to address the decline in the manufacturing sector in the 26 counties which in the past ten years has contracted significantly with the loss of thousands of jobs

“Any initiative which seeks to maximise opportunities for growth by attracting investment, reducing company tax costs and making efficiency savings in energy and waste regulation is to be welcomed.

“It remains to be seen however, if this latest initiative by the government be provided with the type of funding and supports that are needed to implement meaningful labour activation measures.

“All too often ministers make these announcements, yet at the same time implement cuts such as increasing the pupil-teacher ratio for the FET sector that make the delivery of these type initiatives impossible.

“I hope in this case,” concluded Deputy O’Brien, “that the government does not repeat this mistake and matches its rhetoric with funding.”

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