The Minister for Jobs Enterprise and Employment, Richard Bruton TD, writing exclusively in this weeks Tipperary Star says that The Premier County is in a better place now than it was twelve months ago. Unemployment has fallen by 4% and there are 12,000 more people in work in the Mid West/South east region than there were this time last year. There is much cause for optimism, the Fine Gael Minister says.
This Government inherited a jobs market that was out of control. In the three years before we took office, the numbers of people at work across the country declined by over 250,000. This is a whirlwind which affected every family and community in the country.
In the broader South East/Mid West region that Tipperary is located in, the decline in jobs over the years 2008-2010 was a staggering 57,000.
That is why during the election campaign, and ever since, we said and continue to say that jobs is our top priority. And that is why immediately on taking office we took action to reverse this slide and get people back into work in every region of the country.
At the centre of everything we have done is the Action Plan for Jobs. Because of the scale of the jobs crisis and its importance for every family and community in the country we decided that this Plan would have to be different from strategies previous Governments had published and left sitting on shelves:
It involves the whole of Government – every single Department and dozens of Agencies.
It was developed in partnership with businesses and workers across the country who know first-hand what needs to be done to create jobs
To ensure that it actually gets done, we set deadlines and the Taoiseach reports to the public every three months on what has been delivered and what hasn’t
We took systematic action – looked at what had gone wrong with the economy and made changes to fix the things that needed fixing.
A major problem was Ireland’s competitiveness, which had deteriorated massively over the years of the construction boom. Through the Action Plan we made improvements in areas like red tape and tax, and our competitiveness results have improved greatly over the past two years. Forbes Magazine’s decision to name Ireland as the best country in the world for business is the latest example.
We also looked at the multinational companies and Irish exporters who can make a major impact on job-creation. For every job created in one of these companies an extra job is created in supply and service businesses in the local economy. We doubled the number of trade missions and established a new specialist unit in Enterprise Ireland to provide extra supports. We also established Succeed in Ireland to enable IDA reach a new batch of companies and attract them to Ireland.
And the jobs numbers in multinationals and Irish exporting businesses have seen major increases over the past two years, with over 9,000 jobs added in the past year alone. In Tipperary there have been significant contributions from companies like Technopath, and in the broader region there have been major announcements from companies like Glanbia.
Recognising that IDA companies employ less than 10% of our workforce, we also developed new supports for the entrepreneurs and SMEs that are the backbone of the economy, with for example the 10-point SME tax plan in Michael Noonan’s Budget 2013. Employment among the self-employed has seen a major increase in the past year.
We targeted particular supports at regions which have had specific difficulties – for example with the South East Forum.
Finally, we targeted new supports at areas like agriculture, tourism and ICT where Ireland has particular advantages, and these sectors have seen massive jobs growth over the past year.
The overall result is that the number of people at work has increased by over 58,000 in the past year – meaning that the private sector is creating more than 1200 extra jobs every week.
In Tipperary I work closely with representatives like Minister Tom Hayes, Minister Alan Kelly and Noel Coonan. In the broader Mid-West/South-East region that Tipperary is located in, 12,000 more people are at work today than twelve months ago. Unemployment in Tipperary has fallen by approximately 4%.
I know first-hand that it is the innovation and hard work of business-people and workers who have made this possible. We have a long way to go and many people are not feeling the benefits yet. But we can now be confident that the plan is working and that we are making progress in achieving our goal of getting Ireland back to work.