Kenny to discuss jobs blueprint with 'Ireland First'
A GROUP of prominent businessmen and other public figures are expected to meet the Taoiseach next week to discuss a number of recommendations for job creation they have submitted to the Government.
The 'Ireland First' group is made up of leading business figures including businessman Dermot Desmond, Goldman Sachs International chairman Peter Sutherland, and telecoms entrepreneur Denis O'Brien.
The group submitted the plan -- 'A Blueprint for Ireland's Recovery' -- last week. Informed sources said Taoiseach Enda Kenny was expected to meet them when he returns from the St Patrick's Day celebrations in Washington next week.
According to the group, the country cannot borrow its way out of its current economic difficulties and must cut public sector jobs in order to recover.
Ireland First is headed by Rehab Group and One51 chief executives Angela Kerins and Phillip Lynch. The group came together informally in October last year with a view to helping drive a recovery in the jobs market.
'A Blueprint for Ireland's Recovery' focuses on five core industries: manufacturing, life sciences, tourism, agriculture, and information technology. If the document is implemented fully, it is hoped up to 200,000 jobs could be created.
While the document uses economist Colm McCarthy's Bord Snip Nua report as a starting point and calls for the cutting of 30,000 public sector jobs, it has not been presented as an "austerity programme". Instead, the report focuses mainly on reforms within the public service and of government in general.
One example cited by the document is a review of local government spending which would save an estimated €512m without adjusting its structure.
Recommendations include the setting up of commissions to review the public service and the 38 local government authorities.
Other proposals include calls for bodies such as the IDA and Enterprise Ireland to focus on attracting foreign investment from Southeast Asia and the appointment of a competitiveness minister.
The group counts a host of businessmen and other public figures including Former Taoiseach John Bruton, Glen Dimplex CEO Sean O'Driscoll and former Tanaiste Ray McSharry among its members.