Cowen hosts jobs summit


There is no silver bullet that can end the unemployment crisis but State agencies are working hard to create opportunities for those without jobs, Taoiseach Brian Cowen said today. 

Speaking following a meeting with the heads of 11 State economic development, training and education bodies this afternoon, Mr Cowen said there were many option available to those outside the workforce and that the State was constantly focused "on how we can assist in creating more jobs".

"What Government is doing is making sure all our State agencies are focused on the need to retain jobs and create jobs...," he said.

When questioned about the options available to those out of work, Mr Cowen said they could seek places on Fás schemes, work placement programmes and that Minister for Social Protection Eamon Ó'Cuív was finalising a work in the community scheme.

"What’s clear is we have to provide as many options as possible. Graduates and those out of work need to be given work or at least work experience to help their employability," he said.

The groups attending the meeting were the IDA; Enterprise Ireland; Forfás; Fás; Bord Bia; Fáilte Ireland; Tourism Ireland; Science Foundation Ireland; the Sustainable Energy Authority;  the Higher Education Authority and the City and County Managers Association.

He said Fás would be asked to provide activity to those most at risk of long term unemployment such as people with disabilities and those from disadvantaged areas.

Mr Cowen said Opposition claims that the meeting was no more than a publicity stunt were incorrect.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny had accused the Government of doing nothing in the last two years to assist the unemployed.

"The Opposition is predictably dismissive of everything because they don’t have much to say, it appears," he said. 

Barry O'Leary, chief executive of the IDA, said the foreign direct investment market had improved considerably this year. He spoke of the need to keep multi-national companies happy by providing them with the most up to date technology and enregy options.