An economic action plan for the Mid-West unveiled yesterday aims to create 23,000 jobs over the next five years.
It’s part of a nationwide €250m plan, the fourth of eight announced by the government for the regions.
Jobs Minister Richard Bruton, in Limerick yesterday, said the jobs target for the Mid-West is “credible”.
Among the major strategies set out in the plan for Limerick, Clare, and north Tipperary — which encompasses the Golden Vale — is to expand agri-food exports by 85% up to 2025.
Other key targets for the Mid-West include the following:
Launching the plan, Mr Bruton said: “Some regions are growing quicker than others and that is why we have started developing tailored regional action plans for each part of the country that will allow those regions achieve their full potential for jobs.
“The Mid-West suffered more than others during the crisis. Since the crisis began, the region lost almost 25,000 jobs. It is only in the last couple of years that the tide has been turned with more than 4,000 new jobs added in the last year alone.
“I am convinced that with the right support from government through the Mid-West plan, and by continuing the collaborative approach across the region, we can deliver 23,000 extra jobs over the coming years.
“This would be 23,000 extra pay packets coming into communities and 23,000 lives back on track and get us back to a level of employment in the region ahead of that which existed at the end of 2007.
“That is a real challenge, but it is a goal well worth fighting for.”
Finance Minister Michael Noonan said Budget 2016 was designed to spread the recovery to families in every region.
“The Mid-West action plan for jobs is an important means to ensure that the recovery is felt in every region and by every community,” he said.
“Every job created puts money back in people’s pockets. The Mid-West is a strong region with great potential and the Government’s is fully committed to continue to create the right environment for jobs growth.”
Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan said the strategy will drive the momentum behind job creation and investment in the Mid-West.
“In Limerick alone in the last 18 months, more than 2,000 high-quality jobs have been announced..
“The action plan gives us a coherent, targeted approach. It utilises all the resources and talents of the region and I am particularly pleased to see the prominent role that education institutes in the region will play.
“Talent and skills are becoming the key drivers for economic growth and the quality of UL, LIT, and other colleges and education centres in the region will be an important factor in winning new investment and providing jobs.”
“As part of the process to develop this plan, the education providers have already come together with business groups, EI and IDA and other key stakeholders in the Mid-West to establish the Shannon Region Skills Forum.”
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