TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY has said he plans to hold a special Cabinet meeting on the issue of jobs next year as he pushes forward with what he says is a “real relentless push” on the issue of employment.
The coalition has been boosted this year by a continuing fall in the numbers of people who are unemployed with the jobless rate now at 12.8 per cent according to the most recent CSO figures.
A total of 58,000 jobs have been added in the last year alone and in its medium-term economic strategy published this week, the government set a target to reduce unemployment to below 10 per cent by the next general election in 2016.
There has been criticism of the lack of detail about how this target will be met, but Kenny said he expects his Ministers to come forward with specific plans in the New Year.
“There will be a special Cabinet meeting on jobs by end of January, early February,” he said. “And I want to drive that on so that we focus on helping Irish business to grow and to export more.”
Kenny also said that he expects to see “serious improvement in the construction sector” in 2014 and pointed to the tax breaks announced in October’s Budget as evidence that the sector is beginning to grow again after collapsing in 2007.
He said there is a need for up to 25,000 houses to be built every year with a sizeable number of those needed in the greater Dublin region.
“There needs to be a facility for builders to actually access credit, develop the sites, building the houses and have a stream of income coming through on those,” the Taoiseach added.
‘Relentless pursuit’: Kenny hopes unemployment will be under 10 per cent by 2016