IDA IRELAND has moved to quell confusion over job creation numbers, reiterating that its previously stated target of 105,000 new jobs by 2014, approximately 20,000 per year, remains the benchmark.
The inward investment agency’s chief executive, Barry O’Leary, said yesterday that the aforementioned target (set out in the body’s previously published Horizon 2020 report) “is still the case” and refuted claims of an additional 70,000 jobs to that total, made by Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation Batt O’Keeffe in a media interview.
The confusion gave opposition parties ample ammunition yesterday. Fine Gael’s spokesperson on Enterprise, Jobs and Economic Planning, Richard Bruton, accused the minister of making up job creation targets as he goes along, adding: “In his usual fashion, Minister O’Keeffe has only added to the confusion surrounding the Government’s policy on job creation. He now appears to be setting jobs targets which are disputed by his own state agencies.”
A Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation spokesperson said the minister had not been talking about the IDA jobs outlook, but instead was attempting to make a reference to the combined IDA/Enterprise Ireland six-year jobs’ target of 270,000.
Mr O’Keeffe was more straightforward yesterday in launching the next step in the Government’s ‘smart’ economy/high-quality jobs drive. The latest plan is to attract more leading investors to Ireland, under the €500 million Innovation Fund Ireland programme.
The Government is looking for global venture capital firms and experienced investment managers based in Ireland to invest in innovative SMEs and is expecting a strong reaction.
“Innovation Fund Ireland will help to transform our investor environment by establishing top-tier international venture capital funds and networks. Investors will partner with the Government in backing high-potential firms with collateral to help them grow into major employers.
“The Government is driving the creation of new sustainable jobs as Ireland’s economy recovers. To do that, we need an indigenous sector supported by innovative and ambitious global venture capitalists who can help to provide collateral to scalable firms that might otherwise not get off the ground,” the minister said.
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