Action Plan for Jobs 2017
Leinster House, Dublin. Image: EQRoy/Shutterstock

There’s no escaping Brexit in Government’s Action Plan for Jobs 2017

1 Feb 2017

The Irish Government has revealed its Action Plan for Jobs in 2017, which most noticeably includes a battle plan for the fallout of Brexit.

Last year, the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs (APJ) promised a future of smart cities as part of the internet of things (IoT). This year, the focus is squarely targeted at the fallout from last summer’s Brexit decision.

At the launch this morning, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, TD, together with Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor, TD, promised to create 45,000 new jobs by the end of the year.

No plan to leave EU

This will include a plan to support the creation of 200,000 net additional jobs by 2020. The Government cited the statistic that since the first APJ in 2012, 190,000 were able to find employment, surpassing last year’s target of 100,000.

However, with the eventual onset of Brexit, the Government will need to address the challenges of one of the Ireland’s largest trade partners no longer being in a single market economy.

Admitting that a “significant consideration” was given to Brexit for APJ 2017, the Government took the opportunity to reiterate that it had no intentions of leaving the EU to favour trade with the UK, and will be prepared for whatever trade deals arise from it.

In the short term, Enterprise Ireland (EI) and IDA Ireland have been given a total of €3m in addition to their annual budgets to recruit 39 and nine staff members, respectively. These new roles will be deployed at home and in overseas offices, bolstering the ability to attract investment.

Attempts to lure UK researchers to Ireland

Science Foundation Ireland will also be dedicating a significant portion of its resources to promote Ireland’s attractiveness as a place to do research, particularly among UK researchers.

For the UK science community, one of the biggest worries publicly spoken about has been the fear that many of its researchers will miss out on crucial funding as part of EU initiatives such as Horizon 2020.

It wasn’t all about Brexit, however, as a plan was announced to establish a pilot support programme in early 2017 for export-oriented SMEs.

EI will also support 850 enterprise-led collaborative projects as part of a planned investment of €600m for the year.

Getting the basics right

Meanwhile, a stakeholder summit will be held in the first quarter of this year to “realise opportunities in the digital economy across all sectors”, in addition to supportive measures for senior entrepreneurship, the long-term unemployed and getting women back into the workforce.

Speaking at the launch at the offices of the NDRC in Dublin, O’Connor said that this year’s APJ “has never been more important”.

Kenny added: “We will focus on getting the basics right, including improving our competitiveness performance, ensuring our skills pipeline is aligned to labour market needs, driving innovation and promoting entrepreneurship, and ensuring finance is available at competitive cost to support and underpin growth.”

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Leinster House, Dublin. Image: EQRoy/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey
By Colm Gorey

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic. He joined in January 2014 and covered AI, IoT, science and anything that will get us to Mars quicker. When not trying to get his hands on the latest gaming release, he can be found lost in a sea of Wikipedia articles on obscure historic battles and countries that don't exist any more, or watching classic Simpsons episodes far too many times to count.

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