Belfast Telegraph

Government reveals jobs action plan

Enterprise chiefs will face quarterly report cards as part of the Government's ambitious plan to create 25,000 jobs a year by 2020.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny claimed radical improvements in the way state bodies and business interact would be a key element of the coalition's Action Plan for Jobs.

Restructuring the country's enterprise agencies, giving members of the Diaspora a 4,000 euro finder's fee to attract inward investors and having a 150 million euro pot to support small and medium-sized businesses are among the 270 actions unveiled.

Mr Kenny denied the plan was the repackaging of old announcements and pledged to personally oversee that 100,000 new jobs would be created by 2016, with a further 100,000 people in work by 2020.

"A job can transform a life," he said. "It can restore missing self respect and dignity. It can provide hope and direction to so many young people looking to make their mark. It's about people's innate desire to work for their living, to look after their families, and to contribute to their country."

Each of the 15 Government departments and 36 State agencies involved will be subject to quarterly reviews to identify failings or problems and work to quickly resolve them, he said.

City and country enterprise boards will be abolished with local authorities supporting enterprises and businesses backed by Enterprise Ireland - which will also establish a specialised export division.

A 500 million euro funding pot will target firms with strong commercial potential and job-creation, and measures to helps small and medium business win contracts with multinationals based in Ireland will be created.

Fianna Fail's Willie O'Dea said the plan contained a significant lack of imagination and focused more on organisational changes. He said: "The Government's document simply draws every measure that has been announced over the past few years, including by the last administration, into one document."

Sinn Fein's Peadar Toibin said: "In the build-up to the announcement we were promised much; however on publication we find no new money and no meaningful targets."

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