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Speech by the Taoiseach, Mr. Enda Kenny T.D., Second Progress Report on the Action Plan for Jobs 2013 July 19th 2013, 11am



Good morning ladies and gentlemen, and thank you for joining us here this morning at the new Marker Hotel.

I’d like to thank the management and staff here for facilitating us today.

I’d delighted to see the hotel open for business and attracting more visitors into Ireland and into our vibrant docklands area.

This area has been at the forefront of Ireland’s rapidly expanding digital industry with some of the biggest names in the sector employing thousands of workers within 5 minutes walk of here.

I’ve no doubt that the opening of the hotel here will further increase the attractiveness of docklands area for investment.

Job Announcements

At the outset I’d like to acknowledge and pay tribute to some positive announcements on the jobs front this week.

Earlier this morning I had the pleasure of welcoming the addition of 75 new jobs created through the Government’s Succeed in Ireland initiative.

Three separate multinational companies are establishing new operations near Portarlington, Kinvara and Longford town. 75 jobs can make a massive impact on towns of this size and will provide a big boost to their local economies.

Earlier in the week I also had the pleasure of welcoming the announcement by Symantec of 400 jobs for the Dublin area, furthering Ireland’s image as an international hub for the digital industry.

While it is true that there has been positive progress on the jobs front, with 2,000 jobs added by the private sector every month, the level of unemployment remains unacceptably high.  

Yesterday we launched further plans to deal with long term unemployment. In my opinion there is no greater threat to the long term economic and social wellbeing of our nation than that of long term unemployment.

While we have outlined our welfare reform and work activation plans in our Pathways to Work strategy which complements our Action Plan for Jobs, we also must push on with new actions to help create more jobs.

Action Plan for Jobs 2013

Today we are publishing the second quarterly progress report on the Action Plan for Jobs 2013.

In February, Action Plan for Jobs 2013 was launched; setting out more than 300 targeted actions that we as a Government committed to take to help protect and create jobs. 

In the first quarter of this year, 144 targeted measures were introduced.  This included the provision of 2,000 additional ICT graduate-level places for this year, approving the Energy Efficiency Fund to support innovative energy-saving projects, and providing accelerated, free visas to visitors attending authorised events during The Gathering – to name just a few.

But, as you will surely be aware, rebuilding our competitiveness is a relentless and pain-staking process, and quarter two of 2013 presented its own suite of measures for delivery. 

Q2 Progress Report

The second quarter saw a completion rate of 89% with 160 job-supporting measures delivered on time and in full. While this is a lower rate than Q1, the Report indicates that over the first 18 months of this multi—annual Action Plan process, government is delivering on 92% of the measures as promised on a quarterly basis, with a strong focus on ensuring that any delayed item is driven over the line in as short a time is possible.

The timing of our successful EU Presidency, along with an extremely busy legislative period, has certainly had an impact on our quarterly performance.

Nevertheless, in delivering 160 new impactful measures in the last three months, Government has taken further important steps in meeting the unemployment challenge.

For example:

·       As one of our Disruptive Reforms, we have launched the new JobsPlus scheme.  This new employer incentive encourages and rewards employers who offer employment opportunities to the long term unemployed. I understand that in the two weeks since we launched the scheme over 200 applications from employers have been received with two thirds approved, and we have 400 requests for validation from jobseekers and half of these are now processed.

·       Earlier this year we saw the largest ever State/industry co-funded research investment in Ireland, with the announcement of seven world class research centres. €200 million of exchequer funding will be invested coupled with over €100 million in cash and in-kind contributions from industry. Such significant investment by industry is a major endorsement of our research capability, and we know that this provides the basis for sustainable job opportunities for Ireland.

·       And as I mentioned earlier, yesterday we launched our new Pathways to Work 2013 strategy, which in itself is a new 50 Point Plan to tackle long-term unemployment. We will make sure that economic recovery does not bypass jobless households, by readying jobseekers for work, and ensuring that work always pays.

Disruptive Reforms

One of the innovations included in this year’s Action Plan was the inclusion of 7 distinct disruptive reforms to make a big impact in different parts of the economy.

Since our last quarterly report we have appointed a number of special industry partners who already have been of great assistance to Government to helping to implement many of these keynote initiatives.

I’d like to thank them for offering their assistance to this process and I’m looking forward to seeing a number of these disruptive reforms substantially progressed by the time we report again.



To conclude, today’s report on the Action Plan for Jobs is an extensive review of the focussed activity underway across Government to help businesses maintain and grow jobs. The completion of 160 Q2 measures, as well as the many ongoing activities across the year, illustrates that our promise to make jobs our priority is backed up with action.

I now call on the Tánaiste and then Minister Bruton to provide more detail on priority areas for them under the Action Plan.