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More imaginative steps needed if government is to address regional jobs crisis – Cullinane

11 February, 2015 - by David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin’s David Cullinane has given a cautious welcome to the Government’s plan for regional job creation. 

Speaking in response to the publication of the Regional Action Plan for Jobs, Senator Cullinane said:

“It appears the government is finally waking up to the reality of the economic situation outside of Dublin.”

“Since the 1990s successive governments all but abandoned the notion of balanced regional economic development. The national spatial strategy was thrown in the bin and as a result we have the overdevelopment of the Greater Dublin Metropolitan Region, and the underdevelopment of the rest of the country.”

“This lack of balanced regional economic development has had devastating consequences for people in cities and towns across Ireland.”

“The south east and Limerick have some of the highest levels of unemployment in the state and so far the government has done nothing to deal with this crisis.”

“We also have the problem of underemployment, low pay and poor value jobs and a lack of supports for the indigenous SME sector.”    

“Our once vibrant cities and towns are now struggling to survive and people have hardly any disposable income to spend in the local economy.”

“In 2013 the Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation published the South East Economic Development Strategy (SEEDS) Report, which I authored.”

“One of the key proposals in the Report was that regional targets be set for the IDA in attracting industry and jobs into the region.”

“The Report also called for the establishment of a Southeast Regional Office and an IDA Director to be based in Waterford.”

“The proposals in SEEDS should be replicated throughout the country. What we need is dispersed economic development and regional balance.”

“We need to develop key sectors such as the Agri-business sector; to prioritise job retention through a job retention fund and a region specific target for bank lending to SME’s.”  

“The government should draw on best international practice in terms of developing the social enterprise sector.”

“People need decent jobs to feed themselves and their families.  Lack of work and under employment depresses entire regions and destroys the local economy.”

“Today’s plan is a step in the right direction. However, braver, more imaginative and bolder steps will need to be taken if the jobs crisis and regional uneven development is to be tackled.” 

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