Humphreys defends Government record on regional job creation
Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD has defended the Government’s record on creating jobs in regional areas.
Speaking to Independent.ie at the Government's 'Future Jobs' summit, the Minister said that there is the same focus on all of the regions in Ireland.
"Three out of every five jobs that are being created now are outside of Dublin, and I know that employment has increased in every single region so I am satisfied that everything is being done to create new jobs in the regions," Minister Humphreys said.
The Minister added that a lot was happening, and that there is a lot of investment and support going into Irish small and medium businesses "to enable them to scale up and export, that in turn creates new jobs."
On the matter of comments made by Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon, that Ireland has fallen behind the UK when it comes to creating an attractive tax environment for starting a business, Minister Humphreys said that the Government was providing start-ups with "a wide range of supports" through Enterprise Ireland.
"[At the event today] we want to hear about the barriers and the challenges, and particularly so in increasing productivity in our enterprise base. We want to look at skills, participation in the workforce and the low carbon economy, and I am happy to hear what people have to say."
Opening today’s event An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said Ireland will be impacted more than most by global forces of change.
"In the same way that the invention of the spinning jenny and mechanised textile production changed the world of work forever - automation, the internet of things, advanced robotics, artificial intelligence and big data will transform our century," Mr Varadkar said.
He added that the people – towns - cities - countries - that will benefit from automation or big data are not necessarily those that are doing well today.
"History is littered with examples of regions that thrived economically at one time or another, but were complacent, assumed their competitive advantage would last forever, and fell into decline."
"We can see examples across the Western world the consequences of that failure. People and places that feel forgotten left out and who are seduced by populism and the politics of the easy answer and someone to blame or hate. We know where that ends," he continued.
Mr Varadkar also warned that the planet was under pressure from climate change.
For humanity to survive he said that we must decarbonise our economies, and change how we produce, consume and live our lives.
New forms of energy, transport, and food production will transform industries, companies, and jobs, he added.
Commenting on the success of the Irish economy, Mr Varadkar acknowledged that economic improvements were putting pressure on certain parts of the economy, "notably on housing, on our transport infrastructure and there are recruitment challenges now across all sectors."
The Taoiseach also noted the external risks facing Ireland, including international developments in trade and tax, which he said have the potential to damage the economy.
Mr Varadkar concluded by saying that Ireland needs more home grown companies growing jobs.
Acknowledging that foreign direct investment will continue to the "cornerstone" of Irish enterprise policy, he said that Ireland needs "to more deeply embed this sector in our wider economy, and improve productivity performance across other companies".