Wednesday, 20 January 2016
Order of Business
Will the Leader indicate if, in the remaining weeks of this Seanad, it would be possible to have a wrap-up meeting with the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Deputy Bruton, on the Action Plan for Jobs in light of the plan's launch on Monday, 18 January 2016? When the country was on its knees in 2012 and we were haemorrhaging jobs, the first Action Plan for Jobs was launched with a target of helping to foster an environment in which to create 100,000 jobs between then and 2016. Thankfully the target was reached and surpassed and we are seeing the growth of 135,000 jobs created since 2012. The ambitious targets which have been set in the fifth annual plan, the first phase of this new action plan for 2016 to 2020, are for 200,000 extra jobs by the year 2020.
There are some interesting concepts within the plan which are to be welcomed, including a commitment that by 2017 all Government transactions with businesses will be available online. This will impact on 370 Government transactions with 185,000 businesses throughout the State. Following the roll-out of the regional plans, further actions to support regional growth will be supported by €530 million in funding.
Despite all the good news and the 1,200 new jobs announced today by various companies in the State, there are still problems in parts of the State and we need to accelerate measures to spread the recovery into the regions and into the more peripheral towns and villages. In this context it would be appropriate to invite the Minister to the House for a final debate during the lifetime of the Seanad to discuss the €150 million in new funding to be made available for research and development. The debate might also give us all more guidance on how we can assist and help companies in our regions to draw down and leverage these funds.