Saturday 24 March 2018

'I'm committed to jobs,' says Richard Bruton as he's linked with Health portfolio

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton
Jobs Minister Richard Bruton

Brian Byrne

JOBS Minister Richard Bruton has said he is “very committed” to retaining his position despite being linked to the troublesome health portfolio.

Mr Bruton said “there was a long way to go” with his plans to create 100,000 jobs by 2016, and that this could be offset if a Labour minister were to take over his role.

He said: “Enda Kenny gave me a job, which was to create 100,000 jobs by 2016. That’s the job that I have been given.

“We have made a very good start on that, but I think there is a long way to go and I think the policy underpinning (this) has to be right over the coming years, and I’m certainly very committed to the task that I have in hand.

“What I have learned over three years, by developing the Action Plan for Jobs, by having it involve the whole of our Government departments, by striking an even-handed balance between competing pressures, I think we’ve got the balance right now, and I think we’ve something we can build on,” he said.

However, he admitted that the decision to remain as Minister for Jobs following the imminent cabinet reshuffle wouldn’t be his to make.

“Clearly, I have an ambition to go on building, but that’s not a decision ultimately that I can take,” he said.

Mr Kenny and newly-elected Tanaiste Joan Burton are meeting at Government buildings today to begin discussions on a cabinet reshuffle and the prioritisation of policies.

Among Labour’s demands are the Jobs Minister’s portfolio – but Mr Bruton said there would be no advantage to linking his department with Ms Burton’s Department of Social Protection.

He said: “Creating super departments of that nature doesn’t make a lot of sense, but we have built very good bridges with Joan Burton’s department.”

The latest quarterly national household survey headline figures showed an annual increase of 42,700 people in employment up to the first quarter of this year.

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