Minister Burton appoints new council to boost job creation

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Labour Market Council to drive implementation of Pathways to Work strategy

The Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton T.D., has appointed leading industry and policy experts to a new jobs council that will drive the implementation of the Pathways to Work 2013 strategy to tackle unemployment.

The Labour Market Council, chaired by Mr Martin Murphy, MD of HP Ireland, met with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister Burton as it held its inaugural meeting in Government Buildings today (25th September 2013).

Pathways to Work 2013,overseen by Minister Burton, is the Government’s 50-point action plan to tackle long-term unemployment.

The Council will advise the Minister on implementation of the Pathways strategy, monitor progress and put forward additional proposals to complement the reforms to labour market policy already  underway in the Department of Social Protection . The Council will publish an annual statement outlining its findings, and will also advise on wider labour market and employment policy.

The membership of the Labour Market Council is:

  • Martin Murphy, MD Hewlett Packard Ireland – Chairman of the Council
  • Tony Keohane, Chairman, Tesco Ireland
  • Siobhan Talbot – Chief Executive, Glanbia
  • Heather Reynolds – Chief Executive, Eishtec
  • Frank Ryan – Chief Executive, Enterprise Ireland
  • Alan Gray – Managing Director, Indecon International Economic Consultants
  • John Martin -  Former Director of Employment, Labour and Social Affairs,    OECD
  • Philip O'Connell – Director, Geary Institute
  • Marie Sherlock – Economic Adviser, SIPTU
  • Tony O'Donohoe – Head of Education, Social and Policy, IBEC
  • Bríd O'Brien – Head of Policy and Media, INOU

The Taoiseach said: "The establishment of the Labour Market Council will bring new experience and focus to the Government's reform agenda. I look forward to the Council assisting the work of the Cabinet Committee on Pathways to Work in driving the implementation of the Pathways strategy. Together we can get Ireland working again."

Minister Burton said: “The skills of the Council members range from building businesses and creating thousands of jobs to developing innovative labour market policies and fighting for the best interests of jobseekers. Between them, the members have the perfect blend of skills to help drive implementation of the Pathways strategy and advise on what further actions can be taken across Government to increase employment.

“The Government is making firm progress in the fight against unemployment, and the latest CSO figures demonstrate this, with an increase of 33,800 in the numbers at work over the last year. The CSO figures also show that long-term unemployment has fallen from 9.2% to 8.1%. However, that is still far too high and there remains much work to be done. Pathways to Work 2013 is specifically targeted at helping people who are long-term unemployed back into work, and the broad and deep expertise of the Council will help ensure strong and swift implementation of the strategy.”

Mr Murphy said: “In the past couple of years a lot of work has gone into the development of the policy decisions contained in Pathways to Work.  What matters most now is implementation and I see this Council providing a very constructive but challenging mechanism to build on the strong focus on implementation in the Pathways 2013 action plan.

“Innovative and progressive policies such as those set out in Pathways to Work will count for nothing if they are not implemented in a timely and coordinated way. In my time as Chairman of the JobBridge Implementation Group*, I have seen what can be done when we combine our skills, public and private sector, and focus on the outcomes we want to achieve.  All of the Government Departments and Agencies involved in delivering this programme of work will be challenged to work harder, work smarter and work differently but the prize of making inroads on the scourge of long-term unemployment will be worth it.

“I especially welcome the whole-of-Government approach to this issue and along with the other members of the Council, I look forward to contributing to this effort.”


Note for Editors:
The Government has agreed the following terms of reference for the Council that will cover the period to September 2014:

  • Monitoring the implementation of the Pathways to Work 2013 strategy.
  • Identifying key issues arising from the implementation of the strategy and suggesting possible policy and/or operational responses.
  • Providing input to and feedback on strategies to increase employer and jobseeker awareness of, and engagement with, the various initiatives identified in the strategy.
  • Providing input to and feedback on the design and implementation of the Youth Guarantee for Ireland.
  • Providing input to and feedback on the development of the JobPath contracting model.
  • Providing insights and experience relating to wider policy issues relevant to developments in the labour market generally, including employment trends, skills, training and workforce developments.
  • Contributing to developing the wider public awareness of the Pathways to Work strategy.
  • Providing the Minister for Social Protection and the Government with input to and feedback on revisions to and further development of the Pathways to Work strategy during 2014.
  • Publishing an annual statement outlining the Council’s findings.
  • The Council will also advise the Minister for Social Protection and the Government on wider policy issues relevant to the employment agenda of supporting long-term unemployed people to return to work.

The Council will meet every six weeks, and present its views on an ongoing basis to the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Pathways to Work.
The Council will be supported in its work by the Department of Social Protection and other relevant Government Departments responsible for the Pathways to Work strategy (including the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation).

The Department of Social Protection is the lead Department on Pathways to Work, which complements the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs. The Action Plan for Jobs is designed to accelerate the transition to a sus-tainable, jobs-rich economy, while Pathways to Work aims to ensure that as many as possible of those newly created jobs go to people on the Live Register.

* JobBridge, the National Internship Scheme, is one of the key schemes contained in the Pathways to Work strategy. To date, more than 20,000 internships have been taken up under JobBridge, and three in five participants secure employment within five months of completing their internships, according to the independent evaluation of the scheme conducted by Indecon Economic Consultants. Mr Murphy is Chair of the Implementation Group overseeing JobBridge.

Biographical details of members of Labour Market Council
Martin Murphy – Managing Director of HP Ireland (Chairman)
Martin Murphy is managing director for Hewlett Packard (HP) in Ireland and is responsible for driving HP's business growth in the Irish market. He also serves on the board of the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School and the Institute of Directors, on the Top Level Appointments Committee for appointment of senior public servants and is chair of the JobBridge steeering Group.

Alan Gray – Managing Director, Indecon International Economic Consultants
Alan Gray is chairman of London Economics and managing partner of the Indecon International Economic Consultancy Group.  He has published extensively on economic policy issues and edited the book on International Perspectives on the Irish Economy which included contributions from US Nobel Prize Winners Professor Paul Krugman and Professor Kenneth Arrow.  He was recently appointed to the Board of IDA Ireland.

Philip O’Connell – Director, UCD Geary Institute
Philip J. O'Connell is Director of the UCD Geary Institute and Professor of Applied Social Science at University College Dublin. Prior to that, he was Research Professor and Head of Social Research at the Economic and Social Research Institute and Adjunct Professor of Sociology at Trinity College Dublin. He has served as a consultant on human resource development and labour market issues to the European Commission and the OECD.

Tony Keohane – Chairman – Tesco Ireland
Tony’s entire career has been in retail, specifically Store Operations, having held various positions in that area of the Quinnsworth business before being appointed to the Board in 1995. In 2006 he was promoted to the position of Chief Executive Officer of Tesco Ireland and in July 2013, he became Chairman of Tesco Ireland.

Heather Reynolds – Chief Executive, Eishtec
Heather Reynolds is one of the owners of a new Irish company called Eishtec.  Based in the South-East of Ire-land, Eishtec is an outsourced contact centre providing tailored customer service solutions, that has to date delivered over 400 jobs across Waterford and Wexford and will grow to 650 by end of 2013.  Heather has over 20 years industry experience in the services sector across a number of Blue Chip organisations including AOL Inc, Dell UK and TalkTalk Group. 

John  Martin – Former Director for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, OECD
John P. Martin was Director for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs at the OECD from 2000 to early 2013; his brief as Director also covered OECD work on health and international migration. He is currently working as a consultant for the German Bertelsmann Foundation on a major cross-country project on the political economy of labour market reforms. He is a part-time Professor at the Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po) in Paris.  He has published many articles on topics in labour economics and international trade in professional journals and has also written and edited several books in these fields.

Bríd O'Brien – Head of Policy and Media, INOU
Bríd O'Brien is Head of Policy and Media with the Irish National Organisation for the Unemployed (INOU) and plays a key role in developing policy on unemployment, social welfare and the labour market. She is also acts as the media spokesperson. Bríd is one of the Community and Voluntary Pillar representatives on the National Economic and Social Council. She is also a member of the Economic and Social Research Institute Council.
Tony O’Donohoe – Head of Education, Social and Policy, IBEC
Tony O’Donohoe is head of education, social and innovation policy in the Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC). Following a career in business journalism, Tony has worked with the Confederation for over 20 years in a number of roles including publications editor and head of research and information services.

Marie Sherlock – Economic Adviser, SIPTU
Marie Sherlock is an economist with the SIPTU Trade Union. Her current work spans the Irish and EU macro economy, labour market issues and taxation. In 2011, she was appointed by Minister Burton to the Govern-ment's Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare. Marie formerly worked as an economist with DKM Consult-ants and the Party of European Socialists.

Frank Ryan – Chief Executive, Enterprise Ireland
Frank is CEO of Enterprise Ireland. He was appointed to his current responsibilities in 2003. He is a member of the Board of Enterprise Ireland, Chairman of the Agency’s Investment Committee and is an ex. offico member of the Board of Forfás. Prior to Frank becoming CEO of Enterprise Ireland he held the position of Executive Director at IDA Ireland responsible for foreign direct investment into Ireland.

Siobhán Talbot – CEO, Glanbia
Siobhán Talbot was appointed as Glanbia Group Managing Director Designate on 1 June 2013, having been appointed Group Finance Director on 1 July 2009. Prior to joining the Group, she worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Dublin and Sydney, Australia. She is also a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland.

Last modified:25/09/2013