THE Government has hailed its latest jobs plan as a clear sign of its efforts to guide the Irish economy to "better times".
Ministers today pledged to create an additional 10,000 jobs, on top of the 30,500 new posts already promised for 2014.
The plan will involve the channelling of additional resources to the Industrial Development Authority (IDA), which will lead a fresh recruitment drive for 10,000 new staff at its offices overseas.
It was also confirmed that unemployment fell to 12.1pc in the final three months of last year, compared to 15.1pc in February 2012.
Among the measures announced in the government's jobs action plan include:
- New sources of lending to small businesses, particularly those involved in exports
- A €2m county-by-county reward scheme for entrepreneurs
- The closer monitoring of banks by the Department of Finance to ensure that they are lending to businesses -The announcement of 2015 as the 'Year of Design', during which 1,800 jobs will be created in the design and craft sector
At a press conference this morning, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said there will be no "let-up" in the government's efforts in getting the country back to full employment.
"Creating new jobs is the top priority for Government. We recognise that too many people around the country still have yet to see evidence of recovery. This is why the Government has designated 2014 to be the year for jobs," he said.