Wednesday, 15 February 2012
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation
Job creation is at the top of the Government's agenda. Since we came into office, we have been working hard to create the improved economic conditions which will support the maintenance of existing jobs and the creation of new ones. Our objective is to put the country back on the road to economic recovery and full employment. The Action Plan for Jobs, which I launched last Monday, outlines the Government's plan to rebuild the economy and create jobs. The plan will improve access to finance for small businesses, reduce costs and red tape, and improve supports for exports, management and innovation.
Enterprise Ireland will continue to drive industrial development and job creation in Co. Meath where it is working with 172 Enterprise Ireland client companies. For the second successive year, employment in these companies has grown, with the most recent figures indicating that they employed 5,120 people on a full and part-time basis in 2011. Since 2007, funding of over €20m (€2.2m in 2011) has been approved by Enterprise Ireland to companies based in Co. Meath, helping them to retain and create employment.
In 2011, businesses supported by Meath County Enterprise Board created 358 full-time jobs and 120 other (i.e. part-time, seasonal, contract) jobs and I will continue to ensure that available funds are targeted to maximise entrepreneurial development.
I have also been reviewing the structure of enterprise supports in recent months and, in particular, the role of the CEBs. As the Deputy will be aware, under the Action Plan for Jobs it is proposed that a new "one-stop-shop" micro enterprise support structure be established through the dissolution of the existing CEB structures and the creation of a new Micro Enterprise and Small Business Unit in Enterprise Ireland. EI will work with the Local Authorities to establish a new network of Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) in each Local Authority. The LEOs will combine the enterprise support service of the previous CEBs and the business support work of the Business Support Units in the Local Authorities, offering an enhanced service because of their seamless access to both EI expertise and the broader business services of the Local Authority.
The intention is that the new LEOs will act as a focal point for a series of important new policy initiatives aimed at small businesses. The Deputy may wish to access the full details of the Action Plan for Jobs on my Department's website www.djei.ie . With regard to the crucial micro and small business sectors – from which many of our new jobs will come – my objective is to ensure that there is a continued clear focus of Government policy and supports.
One of the targets for IDA Ireland in the Action Plan for Jobs is to have 50% of foreign direct investments based in locations outside of Dublin and Cork. IDA Ireland has been marketing a number of large towns, including Navan and Drogheda, as key locations of focus for foreign direct investment. At present, there are 16 IDA Ireland supported companies in Co. Meath employing approximately 1,300 people. The agency continues to work with these clients in encouraging them to broaden their mandate and to continue to re-invest within the region.
I am confident that the measures outlined in the Action Plan for Jobs, together with other policies and initiatives being pursued, will create the employment opportunities necessary for Co. Meath.