Mayo TDs at odds over success of Action Plan on Jobs
By Toni Bourke
Mayo’s representatives in Dáil Éireann are at odds about whether the Government’s Action Plan on Jobs is working.
On the one hand the Fianna Fáil spokesperson on jobs, Dara Calleary, says the latest progress report by the Government on their Action Plan for Jobs confirms it is simply not working. While on the other hand, Deputy John O’Mahony says that the measures being implemented under the plan are helping to rebuild our economy.
According to Dep Calleary the Government has put its “usual spin” on its plan “claiming they have met 249 out of the 270 measures contained in it”. However, Dep Calleary has pointed out that the main aim of the plan was to create more jobs but added “unfortunately this is not happening”.
Meanwhile Dep O’Mahony has explained that the Government launched the Action Plan for Jobs this time last year to deliver a wide range of measures to boost job creation, improve the enterprise environment, and bring about economic growth. “The final progress report shows the plan is working; over the last 12 months there have been a number of encouraging signs of progress in the labour market,” he added.
Unemployment is a big concern of his Ballina contemporary: “The steady increase in the long-term unemployment rate is a serious cause for concern. An increase of 3.3 per cent in a year means there are 189,857 people throughout the country stuck in long-term unemployment. The live register figures have remained virtually the same, while any slight increase in the unemployment rate is offset by the thousands that are forced to go abroad for work,” Dep Calleary explained.
He added: “Minister Bruton has talked about a whole Government approach to the jobs crisis, despite this, there were cuts to VECs and PLC colleges along with cuts to training allowances and the Back to Education Allowance announced at Budget 2013.
“The time for spin is over, we need solutions not bluster and broken promises. The Government needs to concentrate on re-skilling unemployed workers and to introduce more job activation measures as a matter of urgency,” he concluded.
In contrast this week Dep O’Mahony claimed 12,000 new jobs were created in the private sector last year, led mainly by export companies.
“Employment grew in nine of the 14 economic sectors over the year,” he added but admitted there were still jobs being lost in the construction sector.
He said a key element of the plan is constant monitoring with progress reports published every three months to ensure the targets are being met. “Through this sustained approach we can rebuild our economy from the old, failed model based on banking and construction, to a new model based on enterprise and innovation. The Action Plan for Jobs 2013 is due to be launched shortly; it will help us keep on the right track to getting Ireland back to work.”