The Government is committed to securing and growing quality employment in all parts of the country and I am firmly focused on delivering on A Programme for a Partnership Government target of creating 200,000 new jobs by 2020, with 135,000 of those jobs to be located outside Dublin. In addition to job creation and retention, it is important to ensure that the jobs created are of good quality and sustainable in the long term.
My Department and its enterprise agencies play a key role in supporting the creation of quality, sustainable jobs in the regions, including Tipperary. There are currently 11 IDA Ireland client companies in County Tipperary, employing a total of 3,665 people. Foreign direct investment employment in County Tipperary increased by almost 9% from 2016 to 2017, with 297 net new jobs created. IDA Ireland continues to support its clients in growing their businesses and footprints in County Tipperary. Prominent IDA client companies there include Abbott Ireland, Boston Scientific and Merck Sharp and Dohme, which together employ 2,500 people. IDA Ireland also owns sites in County Tipperary which are being actively marketed to its clients.
In 2017, 5,907 people were employed in Enterprise Ireland-supported companies in County Tipperary, representing an 8% increase on 2016. Underpinning Enterprise Ireland’s 2017 employment results are a range of activities and supports which help 123 companies in County Tipperary to innovate and remain competitive in international markets. In the period 2015-17, Enterprise Ireland supported client companies based in Tipperary with €9.7 million in funding. Under the regional enterprise development fund, Enterprise Ireland has approved funding for the development of a state-of-the-art national bioeconomy innovation and piloting facility encompassing flexible, modular, pilot-scale multipurpose chemical and biological infrastructure at Lisheen mine.
The local enterprise office, LEO, in Tipperary is the first stop shop for advice, guidance, financial assistance and soft supports such as training and mentoring for anyone wishing to start or grow a business in the area. In 2017, 297 LEO client companies in Tipperary employed 1,595 people. The Tipperary LEO created 467 new jobs with a net increase of 262 jobs. It provided training to 1,695 participants and 319 people availed of mentoring sessions.
Additional information not given on the floor of the House
Since 2015, the regional action plan for jobs initiative has been a central pillar of the Government's ambition to support the creation of 135,000 new jobs outside Dublin by 2020. A key objective of each of the eight regional plans is to have a further 10% to 15% at work in each region by 2020, with the unemployment rate in each region not to be more than one percentage point above the national average. Tipperary forms part of the south-east regional action plan for jobs implementation committee and also has strong functional and collaborative links with the mid-west region.
The plans have helped to facilitate a strong foundation of collaboration among business, industry, local authorities, enterprise agencies and other key stakeholders in the regions. A united desire for a collective effort towards regional economic development has emerged since the plans were launched. This is a more strategic approach to development than establishing task forces for specific areas.
In order to continue to support enterprise growth and job creation in the regions and in towns and counties such as Tipperary, in April 2018 I initiated a refresh and refocus of all the regional action plans for jobs to ensure their effectiveness, relevance and impact to 2020. Yesterday, I met the chairs of implementation committees. I am satisfied they are on track to deliver ambitious and impactful revised action plans by the end of the year.