Government sets out priorities for remainder of term
Taoiseach and Tánaiste pledge to step up job creation efforts as they mark third year in office
Partners in arms: Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore at a joint press conference at Government Buildings on Tuesday.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he recognised many people have no sense of change in the recovering economy as he and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore pledged to step up the Government’s effort to boost job creation and economic growth.
Publishing a positive assessment of the Coalition’s performance in office in the last 12 months, Mr Kenny said said the end of the bailout in December meant the Government had “some little flexibility” to focus on jobs creation and the lack of credit in the banking sector.
The Government’s aim is to boost 2 per cent anticipated economic growth this year to 2.5 per cent in 2015 and to 3 per cent by 2016 with the long-term objectives of eliminating the budget deficit by 2018 and restoring full-employment by 2010.
“I’ve often said it’s the fallacy of fools in politics to look for any credit. This is a work in progress. We’re not going to grade ourselves. Obviously in the spring of 2016 all grades will be known,” Mr Kenny told reporters at Government Buildings.
“Clearly the bailout was not an end in itself, it’s the start of implementing now two priority targets, create more jobs and the fact that so many people in the country do not feel any sense of change in their lives for the better.
Document: Full speeches by Kenny and Gilmore
“While the unemployment figure is down from 15.1 per cent to 12 per cent, still much too high, the Tánaiste and I are committed on behalf of the parties in Government to have a continued relentless focus this year now on job creation.”
Noting that this month marks the beginning of the Government’s fourth year in office, Mr Gilmore said 2014 was the year in which decisions would be made as to how the people share in the recovery.
“If March 2011 was a critical moment in Ireland’s crisis, then 2014 is the pivotal moment in our country’s recovery,” he said.
“The test for our country and for the Government is how people are going to share in that recovery.”
Recovery should meant that people looking for work should be able to find it and that people who work for a living should be able to afford to live. “It should also mean that as our public finances allow that we can ease the burden on hard pressed families,” Mr Gilmore said.
The 2014 “Annual Report” on the Programme for Government said the Coalition will complete a second comprehensive expenditure review in the first half of the year and publish a revised capital plan.
There will be new measures in the coming weeks to boost employment in the construction sector. Draft legislation will also be published to establish a €6 billion Strategic Investment Fund.
The Programme for Government can be found here.