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Dáil Éireann, Private Members Business (Fine Gael), 2 - 3 April 2008

"That Dáil Éireann:

  • recognising that the largest ever increases in the number of people on the live register were recorded in January and February 2008, with 16,300 more people signing on during this period, bringing the total to 187,900;
  • noting that the unemployment rate has increased by 0.5% and that the live register has increased by 20,605 since the current Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Micháel Martin TD, came to office;
  • noting that the unemployment rate now stands at 5.2%, its highest rate in seven years and that it is projected by the ESRI to rise to over six per cent by the end of the year to a nine year high;
  • noting that Ireland's ranking on the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Index has fallen from 5th in 2000 to 22nd in 2007, primarily because of high costs and inflation and poor infrastructure;
  • concerned about the impact that the job losses at Allergan in Arklow, Merriot Radiators and Bulmers in Clonmel, Xerox and Lucent in Blanchardstown, the Burlington Hotel and Arnotts in Dublin, Hospira in Donegal, Portwest in Westport, Jacobs in Tallaght, Kingspan in Dungarvan, Abbott Laboratories in Galway, American Power Conversion in Castlebar, Grove Turkeys in Co Monaghan, Dawn Meats in Co Roscommon, Oatfields in Letterkenny, Merriot in Tipperary, SFL Engineering and Slaney Meats in Kilkenny and Nexans in Athlone will have on the people affected, their families and the local economy;
  • noting that these jobs have been lost and that the number of new jobs created has declined as a direct result of flawed Government policies, notably the stimulation of a debt-fuelled housing bubble that caused Ireland to lose economic competitiveness;

calls on the Government:

  • to restore competitiveness by investing in infrastructure and by controlling inflation through wage moderation, increased competition in sheltered sectors of the economy, lower utility prices and real public sector reform to boost efficiency and productivity;
  • to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as the engines of job growth by reducing red-tape by setting an ambitious target for reduction of the cost of regulatory compliance to business and by including ISME in the social partnership process;
  • to make a commitment that there will be no cutbacks or delays in delivering the National Development Plan, most notably crucial economic infrastructure such as broadband, inter-city motorways, ports, airport, public transport and education;
  • to initiate a national upskilling programme with the aim of upskilling 500,000 people over the next twelve years with annual targets set to assess progress;
  • to implement tangible policies that will transform Ireland into a knowledge economy by investing in next generation telecoms networks, accelerating eGovernment, assisting business to embrace new technology, raising education standards, increasing investment in information technology in schools;
  • to promote greater involvement of immigrants in the economy by granting 'knowledge visas' to highly-skilled workers from overseas and by relaxing the restrictions on immigrants who want to set up a business."

- Leo Varadkar, Enda Kenny, Bernard Allen, James Bannon, Seán Barrett, Pat Breen, Richard Bruton, Ulick Burke, Catherine Byrne, Joe Carey, Deirdre Clune, Paul Connaughton, Noel J. Coonan, Simon Coveney, Seymour Crawford, Michael Creed, Lucinda Creighton, Michael D'Arcy, John Deasy, Jimmy Deenihan, Andrew Doyle, Bernard J. Durkan, Damien English, Olwyn Enright, Frank Feighan, Charles Flanagan, Terence Flanagan, Tom Hayes, Brian Hayes, Phil Hogan, Paul Kehoe, Pádraic McCormack, Shane McEntee, Dinny McGinley, Joe McHugh, Olivia Mitchell, Denis Naughten, Dan Neville, Michael Noonan, Kieran O'Donnell, Fergus O'Dowd, Jim O'Keeffe, John O'Mahony, John Perry, James Reilly, Michael Ring, Alan Shatter, Tom Sheahan, P. J. Sheehan, David Stanton, Billy Timmins.

[28 March, 2008]