Belfast Telegraph

Republic aims to create 200,000 new jobs through eight-year plan

By Sarah Stack

An ambitious action plan to create 200,000 jobs over two four-year enterprise cycles has been unveiled by the Irish government.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny claimed radical improvements in the way Irish government and business interact would result in a much-needed workforce boost in two swathes by 2020.

The Action Plan on Jobs includes restructuring the country's enterprise agencies, helping more small businesses win big contracts and improving the performance of indigenous companies.

Mr Kenny said the initiative has become the third major strand of the Dublin government's economic plan to get the Republic working - after rebuilding the banks' capacity to lend and cutting the budget deficit.

"Through this action plan we will target different sectors with new supports," he said.

"We will radically improve the way the government and business interact by cutting both costs and red tape."

More than 270 actions have been mapped out by the Irish government, including the establishment of a one-stop shop for small businesses by dissolving county and city enterprise boards and creating a central office to work with local authorities.

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said with 300,000 jobs having been lost because of a flawed economic model which collapsed in 2008 and more than 315,000 people unemployed, job creation is the top priority.

"However there is no big bang solution," he warned.

"It will take a period of hard work by businesses, government and people across the country to rebuild the economy brick by brick, reform by reform, to get back to sustainable, enterprise-led growth where more businesses can start up, expand and create new jobs."

Mr Kenny vowed to personally oversee the implementation of the plan, launched at Icon clinical research in Leopardstown, south Dublin.

He maintained his department will work closely with other departments to make absolutely sure the necessary changes are made and that results are achieved. He said Ireland would target key sectors and attract new investment.