The Irish Government has launched its first Action Plan for Jobs, which includes more than 270 actions to be implemented in 2012 to improve supports for job-creating businesses and remove barriers to employment creations.
This plan is the first instalment of a multi-year process which aims to increase the number of people at work in Ireland by 100,000 by 2016. It also aims to make Ireland ‘the best small country in the world in which to do business’.
The measures include dissolving County and City Enterprise Boards and instead creating a new Micro-Enterprise and Small Business Unit in Enterprise Ireland. This will work with local authorities to establish a new network of local enterprise offices in each local authority.
The plan says a new range of supports will be implemented for small and medium-sized businesses struggling to access credit, such as a €150m Development Capital Scheme aimed at mid-sized, high-growth indigenous companies with prospects for jobs and export growth.
A new Potential Exporters Division will be established in Enterprise Ireland to better support indigenous exporters. Up to €1.2m in extra funding per year will also be supplied for mentoring and management development networks.
There will be increased mentoring of SMEs by business leaders, multinationals and large Irish companies. The Government will also assist small businesses to engage in R&D and to win big contracts from the Government and large multinationals.
Direct incentives will be provided to members of the diaspora and others across the world to create jobs in Ireland.
The Government will implement a Research Prioritisation Plan and enact new laws aimed at the State’s €500m annual research budget towards more applied areas of research which has potential for commercialisation and job creation.
It will reduce costs, such as a request to Government department and agencies to identify charges levied on businesses that can be frozen or reduced for 24 months.
Sectors of growth
The Government will also target numerous sectors it believes will be major sources of job creation and economic growth.
A Cloud Computing Strategy for the Public Service will be created and a research centre in cloud computing will be established to boost this sector in the IT industry.
It will establish a cluster development team for digital games and will establish other industry clusters for targeted sectors.
A Manufacturing Development Forum will be established for the manufacturing sector and a Health Innovation Hub will be created to drive collaboration between the heath system and the life-sciences industry.
A Cross-Departmental Plan will be published and implemented for the green economy and the Government aims to win more investment from multinational food companies for the agri-food sector.
“The ultimate goal and top priority of Government has always been to get Ireland back to work,” said Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
“It is the all-consuming obsession of every cabinet minister at a time when we have never seen more people unemployed. Economic recovery has to be matched by a jobs recovery.
“When the Government was first formed, we were presented with a series of urgent challenges that demanded immediate attention to stabilise the economy and restore a degree of confidence in Ireland. This was necessary for new investment and job growth.
“Now we must do more. This is why Government has put together this Action Plan for Jobs. We will target specific sectors with new policy supports and improve the way Government interacts with businesses by cutting costs and red tape. I will ensure that Government works hard to deliver on this ambitious plan,” Kenny said.