I propose to take Questions Nos. 18 and 20 together.
The Government is tackling unemployment generally through the twin strategies of the Action Plan for Jobs and Pathways to Work. The aim of the Action Plan for Jobs is to support the creation of 100,000 net new jobs by 2016, while the objective of Pathways to Work is to provide those who are unemployed with the appropriate training and skills to avail of the job opportunities which will arise as the economy recovers. Both of these strategies are whole of Government, national strategies aimed at creating and sustaining jobs across all regions of the State. It is not possible to set detailed location-specific job targets for the Enterprise Agencies because much of the activity is enterprise led rather than agency led.
Nevertheless, the regional spread of job opportunities is a major concern and in order to improve support for job creation in the regions, I have put the following measures in place:
50% of foreign direct investments will be located outside of Dublin and Cork;
The Succeed in Ireland Initiative has been launched;
The creation of small business and first time exporters units within EI and reorganisation of the County and City Enterprise Boards;
New supports are being put in place for SMEs including microfinance and partial loan guarantee schemes;
The South East Action Plan is being progressed and
Shannon Development is being restructured.
All of the agencies have regional structures to maximise local opportunities. The CEBs are present in all of the locations mentioned. Both Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland have offices in Limerick, Cork, Waterford, Galway and Letterkenny, Co. Donegal. This regional spread allows the agencies to drive take-up of their services and supports such as entrepreneurship programmes focused on identifying new business opportunities, at a local level, thereby maximising take up and impact. In addition, EI has a network of 110 Community Enterprise Centres in operation across the regions. At present, two thirds of employment in Enterprise Ireland client companies, well in excess of 100,000 jobs, is currently located outside of Dublin.
This year to date, the IDA has announced the creation of over 5,000 new positions. The regional spread of these projects is encouraging, with Limerick, Galway, Cork, Dublin, Sligo, Dundalk, Kildare and Mayo all benefitting from job announcements.