Editorial: Jobs plan is a welcome first step

The Action Plan on Jobs announced by the Government last Monday is largely aspirational in tone and content, but it is to be welcomed for setting a framework by the Government to encourage business and enterprise.

The Action Plan on Jobs announced by the Government last Monday is largely aspirational in tone and content, but it is to be welcomed for setting a framework by the Government to encourage business and enterprise.

With hundreds of thousands of people unemployed, the need for a strategy is paramount.

Up to 8,000 people are currently unemployed in Laois alone, a staggering figure which denotes all to starkly the scale and severity of the crisis.

Whether any of these people can draw any hope from this new jobs initiative remains to be seen.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny qualified Monday’s announcement by noting that no government could create jobs directly, but rather remove the barriers to job creation.

Catchy headlines about 100,000 jobs by 2016 aside, the fact is that no jobs have of yet been created.

Instead, we have a series of job boosting initiatives contained in 270 measures, with targets set over the next few years.

Many of the action points presented in the plan were things we have heard before, and which have manifested themselves in other arenas.

However, they are no less welcome for this.

The balance in this plan is largely right in its targetting of old and new industries.

Agri-food, tourism and manufacturing sit well beside emerging areas such as cloud computing, digital media, information and communications technology and life sciences.

In short the plan is going in the right direction. Whether it delivers is anyone’s guess.

In the most immediate short term its positive and upbeat tone is something we all need to hear.