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Monday 22 May 2017

Job creation is priority, Taoiseach warns all ministers

Lyndsey Telford

GOVERNMENT ministers will be hauled before the Taoiseach in a special Cabinet meeting to explain how they will create jobs through their own departments.

Enda Kenny said the drive for employment should not be left to just one department and Jobs Minister Richard Bruton.

He will demand that everyone pulls their own weight during a meeting this month.

"I want to know what it is that you're intending to deliver with your department in terms of jobs," Mr Kenny said.

"I don't want anyone to run away with the sort of idea that there is one Action Plan for Jobs that belongs to one minister or one ministry only."

The Taoiseach said he hopes ministers will refer to the process used in the Action Plan for Jobs, which was launched at the start of the year with the aim of creating 100,000 jobs by 2016.

The next Action Plan report will be published in February, when the Government will announce how much progress the initiative made in its first 12 months.

The plan has seen the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation work closely with Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland, which is responsible for attracting foreign direct investment to the country.

Mr Kenny said the special Cabinet meeting on jobs, which will be held towards the end of the month, will have a particular focus on small and medium enterprises and the domestic economy.

"We have the Action Plan for Jobs and that's been pretty successful," the Taoiseach said.

"But I want to use that as a process or as a structure for every minister to be able to come before Cabinet, with plenty of notice, to be able to say what it is that they can do, their best shot at numbers of jobs that can be created through their respective departments, building on the process that is in the Action Plan for Jobs."

Official figures unveiled last month showed the number of people claiming unemployment benefits fell by 1,500 in November.

The information from the Central Statistics Office revealed that the seasonally adjusted register, which takes casual and part-time workers into account, was 423,300.

According to the figures, Ireland's standardised unemployment rate was 14.6pc - down from 14.7pc the month before in October.

Mr Kenny insisted his new jobs mission would apply across the board to all departments. He said each department would drive its own plan, which would be overseen by the Department of Taoiseach.

The jobs meeting is expected to take place in the latter half of January.

However the Taoiseach said that will depend on prior commitments from ministers to attend EU presidency events.

Ireland took up its six-month term as president of the council of the European Union yesterday.

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