THE GOVERNMENT’S PLAN to create 100,000 jobs over the next four years has been criticised by the opposition parties who said that it was lacking in imagination and failed to outline how it will reduce Ireland’s high unemployment rate.
The government set out a 270-point plan at a press conference yesterday which it hopes can create 100,000 jobs by 2016. Small businesses are pivotal to the scheme which aims to increase investment and improve access to resources for start-ups.
Sinn Féin said the plans were a “rehash of initiatives already unveiled” while Fianna Fáil said that the document – which runs to over 120 pages – contained “absolutely no new thinking at all”.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he wanted to “realise the ambition to have 100,000 more people in work by 2016 and 2 million people in work by 2020″ but Sinn Féin said that Kenny was not clear on his intentions.
“Job creation and growth is the most important issue facing this state. In almost 12 months since this government took office, nearly half a million people remain unemployed,” Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson on jobs and enterprise Peadar Toibín said.
“The Taoiseach Enda Kenny seemed confused over whether the target is to create 100,000 additional jobs or as the he claimed, 100,000 net new jobs by 2016.”
He went on to say that “despite the fanfare” the plan was offering no new government money for job creation in Ireland.
“The government proposals today were mostly a rehash of initiatives already unveiled and the plan is to implement them within existing, significantly reduced, budgets,” he said.
Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil TD Willie O’Dea, the party’s spokesperson on jobs and enterprise, said that there was a “significant lack of imagination” in the plan.
Specifically he criticised the dissolving of city and county enterprise boards and the establishment of Local Enterprise Offices in each local authority, saying it was “optics”. O’Dea also said that credit and loan schemes for small businesses had already been announced before.
“Minister Bruton has acknowledged there is no ‘big bang’ in this plan to deal with the unemployment crisis. He is underselling it – there is absolutely no new thinking at all. There has been no new funding announced alongside this plan and most worrying is the lack of any specific job creation target for 2012.”
He added: “The Government’s document simply draws every measure that has been announced over the past few years, including by the last administration, into one document.”
Toibín went on to say that the lack of specific targets related to getting people off the live register rendered the document “meaningless”.
He added: “The bottom line is the document does not have a target for reducing unemployment. It is silent on the number of people who will be on the live register come the summer and the end of this year. Without these explicit targets the promises in the document are meaningless.”