Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Enda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
I am glad the Deputy welcomes the fact that a plan has been produced. This plan is going to be implemented and it is my view and that of the Government that it will vastly improve the climate for the development of jobs and exports. We pointed out yesterday that we expect 10,000 jobs in the green economy by 2015, 7,200 jobs in food added value by 2020, 2,500 in digital gaming by 2014 - the Deputy will be aware of recent announcements in that regard - 10,000 jobs in international financial services by 2016 and 12,500 jobs in the new IDA supported areas by 2012. A recent report produced by Microsoft said cloud computing has potential for creating 8,500 jobs by 2014. Clearly this is an area with massive opportunity and the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Deputy Rabbitte, addressed it with the EMC company yesterday in terms of cloud computing.
I too met the American ambassador yesterday. I was proud to meet Mr. Rooney given the work he does for relations between Ireland and the United States. At the meeting convened by former President Clinton in New York last week, the point was made clearly by serious investors from around the world that two issues are important to bear in mind. When rating agencies look at countries they investigate political stability and the capacity for generating economic growth. At least in this country the contract between Fine Gael and the Labour Party in government acknowledges this is a challenging time which is not easy for many people but when we get through this economic challenge the rewards and benefit for the country will be great. We have many hundreds of engines in this country to drive our economy. We must have a sense of creating that environment and atmosphere, and a sense of belief and conviction to carry it through. For investors from abroad, these characteristics are very strong and they put Ireland in a different place than that of many other countries. They should never be forgotten in that context.
Austerity on its own is never going to work but we have a problem in that we have to close a gap because we are spending €16 billion more than we are taking in. As I have stated previously, if we never had a problem in Europe, that would be a problem for us. The money we can save when we deal with that can be spent on jobs, hospitals, schools and other things that are important to our people.
The Government does not have all the answers but we have made 270 proposals which I intend to see implemented and will oversee with all the Ministers and 36 State agencies. I hope the consequence is that young men and women will have the opportunity to work and live in their own country, if that is what they wish.