Bruton says full employment twice blocked by ‘bad policies’

Minister for Jobs says enterprise policies hadn’t reflected Ireland’s economic needs

Minister for Jobs and Enterprise Richard Bruton told the Fine Gael national conference that full employment was within Ireland’s grasp twice and “twice that was snatched from us by bad policies”. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill /The Irish Times

Minister for Jobs and Enterprise Richard Bruton told the Fine Gael national conference that full employment was within Ireland’s grasp twice and “twice that was snatched from us by bad policies”. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill /The Irish Times

 

Full employment was within Ireland’s grasp twice and “twice that was snatched from us by bad policies”, Minister for Jobs and Enterprise Richard Bruton told the Fine Gael national conference.

Mr Bruton said the Government’s policy was to put employment at the centre of everything it does and that they had now “built our recovery on solid foundations. It’s built on talent, not on property. It’s built on enterprise, not on speculation. It’s built on innovation and not on debt.”

The “bad” policies were put together by politicians who didn’t understand the need of a small economy to be innovative, agile and competitive, he said.

Mr Bruton said the Government had made thousands of policy changes in the past three years “that [have] driven forward the opportunities in this economy, that has made it easier for business to create employment”.

He told the delegates that “enterprise has stepped up to the plate in an extraordinary manner”.

Enterprise strategy

Mr Bruton said he believed the regional enterprise strategy would assist the sort of companies in every county in Ireland “that will mould the new Ireland”.

He identified DairyMaster in Co Kerry, Combilift in Co Monaghan and Keenan’s in Co Carlow as the kind of companies who were “innovative, driving change” and whose ambition knew no bounds.

The Minister said the Government wanted to make sure that every single region maximised its potential.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny had told the conference that every region was experiencing growing employment and “some of the strongest performances are coming not from Dublin but from the southeast, the border regions”.

Mr Bruton said the Government was seeking to bring the Action Plan for Jobs into regional areas.

Election selections

Leonora Carey, chair of the party’s executive council, told delegates that selection conventions for the general election will begin in March for the 40 constituencies and the party is expected to have a minimum of two candidates in each constituency.

Thirty per cent of candidates must be women, under new regulations.

Fine Gael’s first, and only, female Mayo TD Michelle Mulherin said there was a great need for more women and more female participation in political life.