Taoiseach calls on Cabinet to help cut down dole queue
Published 02/01/2013 | 05:00
TAOISEACH Enda Kenny will chair a special cabinet meeting on jobs this month to tackle the huge numbers on the dole.
The unemployment rate remains stubbornly high at 14.6pc, with 423,300 claiming unemployment benefits.
Mr Kenny said he would be looking for major reforms that would have a quick impact on the jobs market.
He said: "I'm really serious about this. I will say to every minister with adequate notice now – I want to know what it is that you are intending to deliver with your department in terms of jobs."
The Government has promised to create 100,000 new jobs by the end of its term in office in 2016, but progress to date has been frustratingly slow.
The Department of Finance predicts the unemployment rate this year will remain at 14.6pc before dropping to 14.1pc next year and 13.1pc in 2015.
Mr Kenny said the cabinet meeting on jobs at the end of the month will have a particular focus on small and medium businesses and the domestic economy.
He said the drive for employment should not be left only to Jobs Minister Richard Bruton, who is in charge of monitoring the Government's Action Plan for Jobs.
"I don't want anyone to run away with the idea that there is one action plan that belongs to one minister or one ministry only," he said.
The Taoiseach highlighted the forthcoming Plus One scheme, which will pay a bonus to employers who hire long-term unemployed people.
"We hope that can be delivered through the Finance Bill in February," he said.
The announcement came as former Labour leader Dick Spring recalled how there had been an unemployment rate of 17 to 18pc when he was in the Fine Gael-Labour coalition in 1982.
"When I left the Dail in 2002 we had almost full employment, so my slate is clean. It's sad to see what's happened since," he told RTE's 'Play It Again Des' show.
The Government's report on the implementation of its Action Plan for Jobs over its first 12 months will be published next month.
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.