Fine Gael TD for Wicklow and Minister of State Simon Harris has welcomed the launch of the Mid-East Action Plan for Jobs, which is part of the Government’s €250m regional jobs strategy.
The successful implementation of the plan for the region, which comprises Wicklow, Meath and Kildare, will see the creation of 25,000 extra jobs by 2020.
Specific sectors targeted as part of the plan include high tech-manufacturing, agri-food, tourism, renewable energy and the film/creative content industry. Among the 163 actions in the plan to be delivered include:
· Start-ups – achieve an increase of at least 25% in the number of start-ups in the region, and a 25% improvement in the survival rate of new businesses
· Foreign investment – increase the number of IDA investments in the region by 30-40% up to 2019, through actions including appointing a dedicated Regional Manager for the Mid-East, marketing the region as a location for second sites for multinationals in the Dublin region, and building clusters in existing sectors like high-value manufacturing and international services
· Tourism – improve collaboration between different bodies in the region on tourism initiatives, in particular Ireland’s Ancient East, Blueways and Greenways and other recreational tourism facilities serving the greater Dublin area
· Film/creative industries – develop a feasibility study and business plan for the development of an internationally recognised audio-visual industry Cluster in Wicklow
· Agri-food – targeting food companies in the Mid-East to scale and innovate
· Skills – establish a Regional Skills Forums to ensure the flow of critical skills to enterprises in the region
Speaking on the Mid-East Action Plan for Jobs, Minister Harris stated: “After many years of hardship for people throughout Wicklow, it is heartening to see stakeholders from Wicklow and our neighbouring counties coming together to create a tangible solution to the main issue for many households: jobs.
“Jobs are growing right across the country, but we must do more to ensure that those jobs are created here in Wicklow. That is why, as a Government, we have put in place the €250m regional jobs strategy, to support regions to play to their strengths and accelerate jobs growth in every area.
“The Mid-East Action Plan for Jobs is a well-thought out plan to get the region on track to deliver 25,000 additional jobs in the region by 2020.
“Over recent years, thanks to the ingenuity of its workers and businesses, Wicklow has begun to recover strongly, but we must do more. Through this plan we are aiming to build on the specific strengths in the region like the film industry, and high-value manufacturing as well as more traditional sectors like agri-food and tourism.
“I truly believe that this is a plan and a set of targets which we can be proud of and eager to work on. Indeed, through the work of state agencies such as Enterprise Ireland, we have already seen notable increases in job creation figures: 3,903 people are employed in 163 companies supported by Enterprise Ireland. These companies created 243 additional new jobs in Wicklow in 2015, an increase of 8% on the previous year. It is also worthwhile to note that almost two thirds of the new jobs created in 2015 were outside Dublin. This puts the Mid-East Action Plan for Jobs on a good footing from the get-go.
“I am convinced that with the right support from Government through the Mid-East Plan, we can keep the recovery going and create jobs in towns and villages throughout Wicklow. In this way we can deliver 25,000 extra jobs over the coming years. This would be 25,000 extra pay packets coming into communities and 25,000 lives back on track,” concluded Minister Harris.