Based on the figures published by the CSO, and given any fair and reasonable review of the data, the Nevin institute’s presentation of regional employment data in its recent spring report was, at best, highly misleading. In the three years since the Action Plan for Jobs was launched every region has experienced job growth. Over that period more than 50% of the 90,000 jobs created were outside Dublin and the mid-east areas. Indeed the fastest rate of job growth in that period has been in the south east and the midlands.
With regard to the Border region, the number of people at work has increased by 14,300. The equivalent figures are 8,000 in the midlands and 22,700 in the south east.
The same is true of the agency assisted enterprises where 51% of gross employment creation during the period 2011-2014 was outside Dublin and the mid-east. Among agency supported companies there were some strong regional performances. Enterprise Ireland, EI, companies grew net employment in the south west by 27% and in the midlands by 16%, while IDA companies grew net employment by 28% in the west and 21% in the Border region.
However, the Government recognises that some regions are growing faster than others. That is why we are putting in place regional action plans for jobs to accelerate employment in every region. The purpose of these plans is to facilitate each region to achieve its economic potential, building on its existing strengths and opportunities.
The regional action plans will be developed through consultation with key stakeholders in each region. A stakeholder forum to help inform actions for inclusion in the action plan for the Border region will take place later today in Sligo. A further stakeholder forum will take place in Carrickmacross on 13 April.
It is my intention to publish six regional action plans for jobs, including one for the Border region, by July, with a further two in development at that stage.