Fine Gael TD Fergus O’Dowd has rubbished Fianna Fáil’s deluded comments around job creation, stating the facts speak for themselves.
Louth TD O’Dowd said: “Firstly, the notion that Fianna Fáil would criticise this Government’s strong record on job creation after they lost 300,000 jobs and destroyed the economy, is laughable.
“Over 225,000 more people are back at work since the launch of the Action Plan for Jobs in 2012. The Government is targeting an additional 200,000 people at work by 2020, with 135,000 (68%) of those jobs to come from outside Dublin.”
“Secondly, the facts speak for themselves. Our regional jobs target is currently being surpassed, with the latest CSO data showing that 77% of the jobs added over the previous 12 months came from outside Dublin.
“Deputy Collins has conveniently ignored the fact that employment increased in 7 of the 8 regions in the year to Q1 2017, and the fastest growing regions in terms of employment in the past year were the West (up 10.4%), the Mid East (up 5.3%), and the South East (up +4.8%).
“Our eight Regional Action Plans for Jobs are now being supported by a new €60million Regional Enterprise Development Fund – a second call for proposals will be launched in January 2018.
“Some 54% of the IDA’s job approvals to date in 2017 have been outside Dublin. The IDA is targeting a 30-40% increase in FDI in every region outside Dublin over the lifetime of its current strategy to 2019.
“A total of 65% of Enterprise Ireland client employment is based outside Dublin. All 31 LEOs reported jobs gains in 2016, a nationwide increase of 3,679 jobs in 2016 – up 4% on 2015.”
Deputy O’Dowd continued: “In July we welcomed the Low Pay Commission’s recommendation to increase minimum wage by 30c. In May we approved draft legislative proposals to address the increased casualisation of work.
“Finally, almost ten years on from the crash Fianna Fáil created, the Live Register and monthly unemployment rate are at the lowest level they’ve been since.
“There are 7,000 less individuals on the live register here in Co Louth compared to when Fianna Fáil were last in office. Just last week I was delighted to announce that 125 new jobs are coming to Louth.
“We cannot and will not return to Fianna Fáil’s cycle of boom and bust.”