Cowen launches plan to create 300,000 'smart jobs'
Taoiseach Brian Cowen will today launch a jobs plan aimed at creating 300,000 new jobs over the next five years.
The plan is intended to create jobs in manufacturing, tourism and trading services. It is also designed to boost exports from Irish-owned companies.
The Government claims the new plan, 'Trading and Investing in a Smart Economy', is the first "integrated strategy to promote overseas trade, tourism and investment".
News of the employment plan emerged after more bad news on the jobs front last night, with the announcement that 195 jobs are to go at an electronics manufacturing firm.
UTC Fire and Security, based at the Citywest Business Park in Dublin, told staff yesterday that it would be winding down its Irish manufacturing base within the next 13 months.
All but nine sales staff will be made redundant, leaving 195 workers without jobs.
The American-based company manufactures electronic components used in the fire and security systems business.
The manufacturing base for the US and American market will be moved to the company's sister operations based in the US or in Mexico, a company spokeswoman said last night.
Staff were informed of the plan yesterday but consul-tations with a workers' representative council would get under way this week, she added.
"This proposal comes as a result of the decision to simplify the organisation's structure and take advantage of existing manufacturing capacity to improve productivity and remain competitive in the global marketplace," the company said in a statement last night.
John Brocke, the company's director of operations said: "Our leadership team constantly reviews the company's operations, organisation and products to ensure we remain competitive while meeting customer needs.
"The proposed actions are necessary to realign our business for today's market realities."
However, former Labour Party leader Pat Rabbitte called the job losses a "massive blow to the local economy".
"This area has lost many jobs in recent years in the construction, retail and manufacturing sectors, and these job losses are the last thing that local communities need, Mr Rabbitte, who is the local TD, said last night.
"Already the unemployment rate in Tallaght is at crisis level, and joblessness among young people is spiralling out of control.
"Losses of this scale in this sector would indicate that the government strategy of developing and supporting employment is now in disarray."
But there was some sign of hope, however, with the announcement yesterday of a new Tesco store opening in Kinnegad, Co Westmeath.
The UK supermarket giant announced that the new store would create about 80 jobs. The jobs are among 748 new positions the retailer plans as it expands across Ireland this year.
Meanwhile, a recession-hit town is beginning to turn the tide of unemployment by securing Ireland's first research and development hub.
Mallow in Co Cork is now to become a leading school district for maths and science development -- and aims to dramatically enhance its research and development (R&D) profile for potential investors.
Mallow will also work closely with Cork Institute of Technology on R&D -- and firms in the north Cork town are also being encouraged to co-ordinate and expand their own research budgets.
Enterprise Minister Batt O'Keeffe launched the initiative yesterday as he hailed Mallow's determination to foster investment and job creation.
And electronics firm VisionID in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, boosted its workforce from 16 to 20 yesterday.