Thursday, 31 January 2019

Ceisteanna (42)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

42. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation when the new regional enterprise plans will be launched; the benefits this will have for the midlands region; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4442/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

In April 2018, I asked all the Regional Action Plan for Jobs Implementation Committees to start a process to refresh and refocus all Regional Plans to ensure their relevance and impact out to 2020.

The refresh and refocus of the Plans will ensure that they remain effective and that they continue to deliver jobs across the country, in every region, and can be robust to address the challenges we face, including Brexit.

The outcomes of this refresh are nine new Regional Enterprise Plans that are focused on a smaller number of Strategic Objectives with time-bound actions to 2020.

As a ‘bottom-up’ initiative, the Plans complement national level policies and programmes emanating from the ‘top-down’ and so there is strong alignment with Ireland’s national enterprise policy, Enterprise 2025 Renewed, the forthcoming Future Jobs Ireland initiative and Project Ireland 2040.

I intend to launch the Plans at nine separate regional events over the coming weeks, in the following locations:

Region  

Date  

Venue  

Midlands

6th February

Mountmellick, Laois

Mid-East

7th February

Naas, Kildare

West

11th February

Galway City, Galway

Dublin

14th February (TBC)

Dublin City, Dublin

Mid-West

20th   February

Lisheen, Tipperary

North-West

25th February

Leitrim

North-East

25th February

Cavan

South-West

1st March

Skibbereen, Cork

South-East

22nd March

WIT, Waterford

In relation to job creation, the 2020 targets initially set out under the Regional Action Plan for Jobs (2015 – 2017) remain in place – that is to have a further 10 to 15 per cent at work in each region by 2020, with the aim of having the unemployment rate of each region within one percentage point of the State average. 

I also want to ensure that the jobs that are being created are of good quality and sustainable in the longer term, in line with our Future Jobs Ireland objective.

The Midlands has shown excellent progress in employment levels since the launch of the Regional Action Plan for Jobs, with an employment growth rate from Q1 2015 to Q3 2018 of 17.7%, which exceeds the 10 – 15%  targeted to 2020 .

However, the Midlands unemployment rate is more than one percentage point above the State average currently so more work needs to be done.

The Strategic Objectives and actions in the Midlands Plan are set out alongside the Enterprise Agencies’ (EI, IDA, LEOs) core activities. So, the Plan adds value to what the Agencies are doing on the ground, through collaborative actions, to the benefit of the Midlands region.

Under my Department’s €60 million competitive Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) the Midlands has already secured more than €3.4 million across four projects that will enhance the region’s potential for enterprise growth and job creation.

Guided by this new Regional Enterprise Plan, the region is well positioned to build on this success and to continue to see the benefits and results of collaborative and innovative initiatives that can make a significant impact on enterprise development in the region.