Up to 65,000 jobs created under Action Plan, Government claims

Take-up for finance initiatives for small businesses lower than expected, Bruton says

Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton, Taoiseach Enda Kenny Tanaiste Joan Burton  and Minister of State Gerald Nash gave a press conference today to publish the latest quarterly report on the Action Plan for Jobs. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton, Taoiseach Enda Kenny Tanaiste Joan Burton and Minister of State Gerald Nash gave a press conference today to publish the latest quarterly report on the Action Plan for Jobs. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Thu, Jul 24, 2014, 18:29

Up to 65,000 jobs have been created under the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs, the Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton has said.

Speaking at the publication of the latest quarterly report on the plan in Government Buildings this afternoon, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the plan, with its quarterly evaluation of hundreds of targets and initiatives, was working and that the number of unemployed continues to fall, down from 15.1 per cent in early 2012 to 11.6 per cent at the end of June.

In the second quarter this year, some 123 of the 144 measures specified were delivered, a success rate of 85 per cent.

The main one identified by Mr Kenny and Mr Bruton was the National Health Innovation Hub, which encourages “disruptive reform” - essentially new ideas in the health area that could be developed in Ireland and create jobs in the health and technology sectors - indigenous and multinational - which are amongst Ireland’s strongest performers.

A pilot project has already been undertaken in UCC and the Government will now press ahead and establish a National Health Innovation Hub. The pilot was evaluated and it was concluded such a hub would have the “potential to be a vital component” in this key sector of the economy.

The Action Plan for Jobs has promised to create 100,000 additional jobs by 2016 and bring the number of people employed in Ireland to over the 2 million mark. Mr Bruton said that at this stage between 50-65,000 jobs had been created but that more needed to be achieved.

He agreed take-up had not been as high as expected for some of the plan’s major initiatives for providing non-bank funding to small and medium enterprises - such as Microfinance Ireland and the loan guarantee scheme for small businesses.

He said some bureaucratic hurdles associated with some of those schemes had been removed. He said the merit of the action plan was if something didn’t work as expected initially, they could always go back to improve it or remedy its faults.

On another of the plan’s major components, the long-drawn out and controversial Legal Services Bill, Mr Kenny said the process was now moving into its final stages.