Government unveils new plan to create 300,000 jobs
LUKE CASSIDY – Irish Times – 28 September 2010
Taoiseach Brian Cowen has announced a major new integrated plan for trade, tourism and investment in Dublin today that is aimed at generating up to 300,000 jobs.
The Trading and Investing in a Smart Economy strategy also intends to boost Irish exports by one third.
The plan will promote overseas trade, tourism and investment and be integrated across a range of Government departments.
It aims to create over 150,000 new jobs in manufacturing, tourism and internationally trading services directly, with another 150,000 generated through spin-offs.
Unveiling the plan, the Taoiseach said international trade, tourism and investment are 'crucial' to the creation and protection of jobs.
“This new integrated action plan will ensure a sharp focus across the entire Government system on opening new markets for Irish firms, creating many thousands of new jobs, repositioning Ireland in the international marketplace and bringing a new business focus to our diplomatic missions abroad," the Taoiseach said. "To recover from the current unprecedented economic crisis, we need new thinking about our country and her place in the world.”
He said the 21st century will see new powers of Brazil, Russia, India, China, in the Middle East and Africa emerging and Ireland must seize these opportunities.
The five-year plan hopes to increase the number of overseas visitors to the country to eight million and attract an extra 780 foreign investment projects through IDA Ireland. Agency-assisted indigenous exports totalled almost €13 billion last year, and the plan aims to increase this by €4 billion by 2015.
It will also see the establishment of a new Foreign Trade Council comprising all relevant departments and agencies to implement the plan.
The roles of the council will be to devise new common "brand Ireland" initiatives, exploit marketing platforms such as St Patrick’s Day and trade missions, open new markets for Irish enterprises, align visa policy with business interests and maximise the effectiveness of overseas diplomatic and agency representatives.
Mr Cowen talked about tapping into the “huge and willing resource” of the Irish diaspora and using the immigrant community within the country to help build up trade and investment abroad.
The Taoiseach was joined at the launch this morning by the Minister for Enterprise Batt O’Keeffe, Minister for Tourism Mary Hanafin, Minister for Agriculture Brendan Smith and Minister for Trade and Commerce Billy Kelleher.
Mr O’Keeffe said the plan would strengthen Ireland’s trade links through a joined-up approach and by increasing the destination of indigenous exports into new high-growth target markets such as Brazil, China, India, Russia, Japan and the Gulf States.
In terms of tourism Ms Hanafin said the short term focus will be on growing numbers in markets such as the United States, United Kingdom and Germany. However, she added that the Asia Pacific region will present the fastest growing outbound markets over the next 15 years.
Mr Smith said the strategy will help agencies such as Bord Bia and Bord Iascaigh Mhara to expand their market share overseas.
This seems like a plan that is more ambitious than it is workable. But, given the deplorable economic and employment situation in Ireland today, anything to possibly improve them is certainly worth consideration. The Irish people are on the verge of being subjected to what has been described as “savage cuts in government services” when the budget is announced in early December. Maybe news such as this can provide them with some degree of hope that better days may lie ahead.