Labour’s Candidate in Kilkenny, Councillor Ann Phelan said that of the 450,000 people on the live register almost half are unemployed for a year or more. It clearly illustrates how much Fianna Fáil and the Greens have abandoned job retention over the past year. On the doorstep both parties want us to forget their past four years in charge of our destiny.
Cllr. Phelan stated that Labour’s ‘Plan for Enterprise, Innovation and Growth’ outlines our plan for a coherent jobs and enterprise strategy that will get a grip on the unemployment problem and drive economic growth.
“When Labour was last in Government with F/Gael we helped create 1,000 additional jobs each week as well as the platform for the economic boom by introducing the 12.5% corporation tax rate”.
The outgoing government parties have talked, produced reports, set up committees,– but they have done nothing to grow the economy. FF created a casino economy which must be replaced with an investment economy, to promote innovation, small firm start-up and world-class infrastructure.
Ann Phelan, who herself is part of a small family business said that Ireland has significant economic advantages and strengths that can provide the basis for an economic renaissance if the right policies are implemented.
“Labour has a commitment to ring-fencing €500m of tax payers money for a range of initiatives that will attempt to get the unemployed back to work. They will include the following:
Over the past decade global trade has shifted from the developed G7 economies in the direction of the Big Four rapid growing economies: Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC countries). However, in recent years the share of Irish trade with the BRICs accounted for less that 4% of our overall external trade.
- Labour will set up local trade and investment teams BRIC countries which offer huge trading opportunities for Irish exporters
- Labour will appoint individuals from BRIC countries who are living in Ireland as trade champions
- Labour will coordinate the work of agencies involved in the promotion of trade and exports through a Trade Council
- Labour will appoint a Trade and Enterprise Tzar to work with the Trade Council
In advanced economies, productivity and standards of living can only be enhanced by technological innovation.
- Labour will establish an Innovation Strategy Agency to take over the duties of several key agencies to promote and support investment in technology research
- Labour will create a network of Technology Research Centres such as the Tyndall Centre in UCC, which are focused on applied technological research and commercialisation of intellectual property, to be located in appropriate higher-education institutions.
She said that we should concentrate on Ireland’s Knowledge Economy rather than just on the so-called Smart Economy in sectors where we have a natural comparative advantage as:
- CLEANTECH: The establishment of a renewable manufacturing hub to attract investment from international and national companies.
- CREATIVE INDUSTRIES: Extend the R&D tax credit to the gaming industry in order to attract game developers and grow the game sector in Ireland.
- EDUCATION: A strong focus on the development of education as a significant export sector over the period to 2016.
- FOOD: IDA and Enterprise Ireland should continue to include the Food industry as a development priority
- TOURISM: A new emphasis on platforms provided by the internet for new or enhanced tourism products, such as an interactive Irish tourism application for Mobile Internet Devices and specialist websites, such as a Surf Ireland portal or a dedicated portal for golfing holidays in Ireland.
- RETAIL: Enact The Labour Party’s legislation to abolish upward-only rent reviews for all commercial leases, as a matter of urgent priority for the Dáil. In the interim appoint a Commercial Rents Ombudsman with some powers currently only granted to an Examiner