Sunday 18 March 2018

I'm not to blame for jobs blackspot, says Bruton

Brian Byrne

JOBS Minister Richard Bruton has denied that he should take responsibility for the country's largest unemployment blackspot.

Waterford TD John Deasy claimed that Mr Bruton failed to block a decision to move an IDA Ireland regional director from Waterford to Cork in 1996 which he said had been "detrimental" on the region.

The south-east has suffered from the highest rate of unemployment in Ireland, with 19pc out of work in 2012.

"Plenty of people, including people in Government, said it would have a detrimental effect on the region," Mr Deasy told Mr Bruton before an Oireachtas committee meeting on jobs yesterday.

"You were minister (for enterprise) at the time those warnings were given back in 1996. Since then those warnings have turned out to be correct. They have led to an imbalance in regards to foreign direct investment going to three places: Cork, Dublin and Galway."

However, Mr Bruton denied that he was to blame, and claimed it was an "operational matter" for the agency.

He said that the South-East Unemployment Plan has resulted in job growth in the region at a faster rate than anywhere else in the country.

Mr Bruton refused to discuss the impending move of Waterford-based eye care company Bausch and Lomb. The company announced last month that 200 jobs were to go, while the remaining staff are facing pay cuts of up to 20pc.

Irish Independent

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