Speech by the Tánaiste Ms. Joan Burton T.D. at the Launch of the Action Plan for Jobs 2016

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Speech by the Tánaiste Ms. Joan Burton T.D. at the
 Launch of the Action Plan for Jobs 2016
Monday 18th January

I am delighted to be here at Kerry Group to launch the Government’s fifth Action Plan for Jobs. It’s appropriate that we should be here, at the new Global Technology and Innovation Centre. It’s the very best of Ireland’s economic offering - high-quality new jobs in an exciting and growing industry. It’s also vote of confidence in Kildare as a centre for inward investment.  

When we launched the first Action Plan for Jobs four years ago, the picture was very different. Our economy was in freefall. 330,000 jobs were lost - the worst in this state’s history – and emigration was rocketing.

The job of this Government was to get our economy working again. And it is working. We are now the fastest growing economy in the EU. Unemployment stands at 8.8% - the lowest it’s been in seven years.  More than 1,000 jobs are being created every week - each one a person or family with restored confidence. So we’ve turned economic crisis into recovery.

Now some would have us believe that Ireland’s recovery has been accidental or inevitable. That it’s simply been the result of an upswing in the global economy. Let’s be clear – there was and is nothing inevitable about Ireland’s recovery. A look across Europe at countries who are still struggling tells us that. We have achieved the recovery by providing stable, balanced government. And it’s through stable balanced government that we can go on to secure that recovery, and ensure it benefits all our people.

Labour in government will continue to stand up for working people. We will stand up for more jobs and opportunities for our people. To that end, we have set an ambitious target of having 2.2million people in work by 2020.

The new Action Plan for Jobs for the year ahead will help us achieve that. It will work in tandem with the Pathways to Work strategy in my Department, which we launched last week. And it will help us create an additional 50,000 new jobs in 2016 alone.

But we in Labour are not interested in simply jobs at any price. We will stand up for decent pay and working conditions. It’s why we’ve increased the minimum wage, introduced collective bargaining, and restored registered employment agreements. It’s why we will build on that progress by increasing the minimum wage further to 60% of median earnings.

And in addition make the State and all state agencies living wage employers by 2018. Just as we’re standing up for decent pay, we will also stand up for regional recovery. Investments like Kerry Group here in Kildare show that our recovery is not just a Dublin phenomenon.

But we want to see more jobs and more people back at work in every region. To that end, the plan contains policies to ensure each region can achieve its economic potential and match or beat the national trend of unemployment reduction.

Also at the heart of our plans for 2016 is a strong skills agenda. Already, new and exciting apprenticeships are being created for our young people. Building on this, we will develop 25 new apprenticeship programmes led by industry groupings this year.

My colleague Jan O’Sullivan will shortly bring forward the new National Skills Strategy. We will also establish Regional Skills Fora to build the supply of skills in each regions.

2016 can be a year of further progress if we have stable balanced government at the helm that stands up for working people.

Then we can achieve our ultimate goal – a job for everyone who wants one.

And ensure that renewed prosperity benefits all our people.


Last modified:18/01/2016