Thursday, 12 October 2017
Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
Action Plan for Rural Development
24. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the policies she has to ensure that employment is increased outside the five main urban centres; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42760/17]
The Regional Action Plan for Jobs initiative is one of the Department’s key policy responses to supporting job creation in all areas of the country, and is crucial to the Government in meeting the ambition to create an additional 200,000 jobs – 135,000 of which are outside Dublin – by 2020.
The Regional Action Plans do not distinguish between urban and rural areas – their focus is on specific initiatives that will support each region to achieve economic growth based on its particular strengths and areas of opportunity.
Each plan is driven by a committee of regional stakeholders from both the public and private sectors. Progress reports published to date reflect the good work made to date in the implementation of all 8 Action Plans, while the most recent figures from the CSO show that 80% of all jobs created in the past year were outside Dublin.
The enterprise agencies are making a significant contribution to employment in the regions - 61% of new jobs by Enterprise Ireland firms in 2016 were outside Dublin while 52% of new jobs by IDA firms in 2016 were outside Dublin.
Enterprise Ireland’s strategy for 2017-2020 aims to create a further 60,000 jobs, while sustaining existing ones, which will make an important contribution to jobs and economic growth across all regions of Ireland; IDA will continue to target a minimum increase in investment of 30% to 40% in each region outside Dublin to 2019.
To further support enterprise development across all regions, competitive funding of up to €60m is being rolled out by Enterprise Ireland over the next 4 years under the Regional Enterprise Development Fund to support the development and implementation of collaborative and innovative projects that can sustain and add to employment at a national, regional and county level.
IDA Ireland is also investing up to €150 million over five years in property solutions designed to allow it to create opportunities to win additional projects for all regions. This includes the construction of nine new advance facilities around the country.
Micro-enterprises and small businesses are crucial to sustaining rural economies: and the Local Enterprise Offices are playing their role in developing these businesses in every county through a suite of grants and non-financial supports.
These actions will be complemented by initiatives undertaken by my colleagues in other Departments, such as the Action Plan for Rural Development, which contains specific objectives and actions around developing rural employment opportunities, such as the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, the EU LEADER Programme, and National Rural Development Schemes.