Written Answers. - Job Creation.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

121 Mr. O'Shea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if she will urgently appoint a task force, with representatives of all the relevant Departments and agencies, to come up with a strategic integrated plan and recommendations to address the south-east region's underperformance in terms of job creation; if the report will be provided within the shortest possible time frame; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5076/00]

The Government is committed to ensuring the most equitable distribution of job opportunities nation-wide. For this reason, it has ensured that the strategy underpinning the national development plan will be driven by a strong emphasis on attracting high value added projects and balanced regional development. The development agencies are now strongly focused on achieving this aim and resources are being deployed accordingly.

In the recent past a number of task forces in the south-east region have been operational and these have brought positive results to the region in job creation terms. In 1999, more than 1,200 new jobs were announced for the region. The majority of these jobs will come on stream in the next few years and will add to the growing base of employment in agency client companies.

The good relationships and co-operative spirit that have been generated between the various interest groups as a result of the establishment of task forces in the area continue to impact positively on the south-east region and I am confident that it will remain so, particularly in the light of the new strategies being adopted by the industrial development agencies, which sees them targeting the needs of the different regions by identifying the industrial sectors most likely to deliver growth and quality jobs.

In addition to working with their respective core client base, the agencies, because of their involvement in all aspects of business development, finance, technology, human resources etc, work closely with all development organisations in the region as well as the third level educational institutions, local development bodies and other industry to pro-actively facilitate an integrated approach to development in the region.

In view of all of these targeted initiatives, I do not propose to establish a task force for the south-east region.