Taoiseach warns final Budget under bailout deal won't be easy
TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has warned that the Budget in October isn't going to be easy, but hopes it will be the last tough one.
Mr Kenny confirmed that a full Cabinet discussion has yet to be held about what will be the last Budget under the bailout.
He said it was "not going to be an easy Budget", but added that "hopefully it will be the last of the difficult budgets".
"This Government will continue its work; we have this Budget, next year's Budget and a third one. Hopefully if we keep our economy on track this should be the last of the difficult budgets," he said.
"All of the information which is necessary for those discussions to take place is not in yet, and the Minister for Finance won't have it for some weeks, so the Government as a unit has not sat down to do the details of the Budget and that won't happen until September," he added.
The troika wants the Government to stick to the planned €3.1bn package of cuts and taxes. But the Coalition wants to reduce this figure by using the benefits from the Anglo Irish Bank promissory note deal.
However, there is a rift in the Coalition about how to use the €1bn available.
The Labour Party wants to cut back on social welfare cuts, but Fine Gael wants to use any resources for job creation.
Mr Kenny was speaking at the launch of the sixth progress report of the Action Plan for Jobs yesterday, also attended by Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and Jobs Minister Richard Bruton.
Mr Kenny said that 160 out of 180 measures committed for completion in the first half of 2013 have been implemented.
Among the measures delivered is the introduction of JobsPlus, the scheme to provide regular cash payments to offset wage costs where employers take on a worker who has been on the dole for over a year.
There was also the rollout of 31 Local Enterprise Offices across the country to work with start-ups and micro-businesses.
However, 20 of the promised measures missed the target.
Mr Kenny said the work for Ireland's EU Presidency, which ran from January to July, "took up an enormous amount of government time".
Mr Gilmore said the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate had dropped from 14.1pc to 13.7pc from last year.
But he said the incidence of long-term unemployment is still "very high".
"Jobs are the top priority of Government. It's what we get up every morning and come to work to do," he said.
Also yesterday, the creation of 75 jobs in Laois, Galway and Longford was announced.
The jobs are coming as part of a new employment initiative that gives a reward of €1,000 to people for each job that they bring to the country.
US company Magni Group is creating 50 jobs at a new manufacturing plant for automotive coating near Portarlington, Co Laois.
'Connector' Kieran Leavy will make up to €75,000 for attracting the jobs to Ireland.
Flagship Management, a maritime consultancy company, will employ 15 people in Co Galway.
Ark Energy Consulting is bringing 10 jobs in its energy trading risk management business to Longford.