96% of measures delivered under Action Plan for Jobs Fifth Progress Report – Taoiseach, Tánaiste, Minister for Jobs

144 out of 150 measures scheduled in the Action Plan for Jobs to be delivered in the first quarter of 2013 have been implemented, the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation announced today [Friday] as they published the Action Plan for Jobs Fifth Progress Report.

Measures delivered include:

Implemented range of measures to deliver an additional 2,000 ICT graduates over the next year. The changes made aim to deliver an additional 700 additional employment permits in the ICT sector and an additional 1300 graduates from industry-led programmes, as well as a 33% decrease in processing time for permits. International research has shown that for every high-tech job created, a further 4 to 5 jobs are created elsewhere in the economy
Published and commenced implementing the Government’s plan to deliver an additional 20,000 manufacturing jobs by 2016
Approved a Government investment of €200million in seven world-class SFI research centres, in partnership with €100million industry investment
Implemented the 10 Point Tax Plan for the Small and Medium Enterprise Sector as announced in Budget 2013
A €1million initial investment in an industry-led technology centre in Big Data, a sector growing at 40% per annum which provides particular job opportunities for Ireland
Provided support for, via the National Pensions Reserve Fund, the delivery of a range of Funds totalling €850million aimed at providing credit for SMEs
The Taoiseach said:
“In response to the largest unemployment crisis ever faced by this State, the Government established a rolling multi-annual Action Plan for Jobs to get Ireland working again. Today’s progress report confirms that Government is delivering on its commitments to date, leading to real progress on our task of transforming the economy from one based on property speculation to one based on enterprise, exports and innovation. These plans are beginning to make a real impact with the creation of 1,000 new private sector jobs a month. However, although this is movement in the right direction, there is much more to be done and we will continue to accelerate job creation measures in our Action Plan.”

The Tánaiste said:
“Trade promotion and assisting indigenous business to trade is another area of activity vital to our recovery. I was pleased to launch, with Minister Bruton, the 2013 programme of Ministerial events targeting trade and investment for Ireland.

“Earlier this month I led a successful trade mission to Turkey where we made important progress in developing new markets for Irish business and, with over 30 million in contracts signed, helped to create and support jobs in Ireland”.

Minister Bruton said:
“We are starting to see real progress with our plan to rebuild the economy after 250,000 jobs were lost during the last three years of the previous Government due to the collapse of their economic model based on property, banking and debt. We know that many people have yet to feel the effects of this progress, and that many people are really struggling.

“Over the past 15 months an additional 15,000 jobs have been created in the private sector. Irish and multinational exporting companies had record years in 2012, with major jobs announcements by companies like PayPal and Kerry Group, and our exports have hit levels 16% above the pre-2008 high.

“Today’s announcement shows that the progress is continuing. Jobs will remain our top priority, and we will continue to implement the changes necessary to rebuild the economy. We will continue to deliver on our plan and accelerate the transition to a sustainable, economy based on exports, innovation and enterprise that can provide the jobs that we so badly need”.

Further measures delivered include:
· Approved the creation of an Energy Efficiency Fund to support innovative energy efficiency in the public and commercial sectors

Continued to roll out the Pathways to Work initiative including the integrated Intreo service, and published of quarterly targets by which to measure progress.
Encouraged and reported on restraint exercised in setting commercial rates for 2013 by Local Authorities. 87 out of the 88 rating authorities have either reduced their ARV or kept it the same as in 2012. The average nationwide decrease is 0.34%. This follows similar decreases of 0.31% in 2012, 0.64% in 2011 and 0.62% in 2010
Led an intensive schedule of international visits and events targeting trade and investment for Ireland. As part of the St. Patrick’s Day “Promote Ireland” programme 19 Government Ministers, including the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Minister Bruton, travelled to 21 countries, took part in a total of over 150 business-related events and 30 high-level political meetings. Other missions included the Tánaiste’s trade mission of 24 companies to Turkey and Minister Bruton’s trade mission of 40 Irish companies to Texas.
The complete Progress Report can be found at the following link: http://www.djei.ie/publications/2013APJ_First_Progress_Report.pdf

Council encourages students to “Draw the Bike” with art competition

Dún Laoghaire- Rathdown County Council is calling all young artists in primary and secondary schools in the County to create artwork based on the theme ‘Cycling is for everyone’, the underlying theme of Bike Week 2013. The aim of the competition is to help promote cycling as a fun, safe, environmentally-friendly and low cost way to make short journeys as an alternative to driving. The competition consists of five age categories with €50 vouchers on offer for the best entry in each category.

According to Gerry Flaherty, the Council’s Sustainable Travel Officer, “In running this competition, the Council hopes to encourage young artists and parents to cycle more and to think about how they travel on short trips that can easily be made by the bike instead of driving. As well as environmental benefits there are also many health benefits for individuals”.

The Art Competition Posters must be received no later than 4pm on Friday June 9th, 2013 and the winning student in each of the five categories will receive a prize to be presented during Bike Week 2013, which runs from 15th to 23rd of June.

Among the events being planned by the Council for Bike Week 2013 are a family cycle from Deansgrange to Kilbogget park on Sunday 16th, Active8 Family cycle event on Sunday 23rd, cycle training for Children with disabilities & Special Needs and a ‘Bike Fix It’ in the Sandyford Business District.

Further details and rules of the Art Competition can be found on www.dlrcoco.ie/artcompetition or by e-mailing the Sustainable Travel Officer at gflaherty@dlrcoco.ie. Details of all upcoming Bike Week events in the Council can be found on www.bikeweek.ie in May.

25 April 2013

National Positive Ageing Strategy launched

By 2041, it is projected that there will be an estimated 1.3 million to 1.4 million people aged over 65 years in Ireland, representing 20-25 per cent of the total population. A population with between 1 in 5 and 1 in 4 people over the age of 65 years in the future will have significant social and economic implications at an individual, family and societal level.

The National Positive Ageing Strategy was launched by Ms Kathleen Lynch, T.D., Minister of State for Disability, Equality, Mental Health and Older People on 24 April 2013.

There is no doubt that this will pose challenges but it will also bring many opportunities as older people continue to make a major contribution in society as consumers, workers, mentors, caregivers, child-minders and as volunteers.

The Government believes that the challenges can be met and opportunities exploited by planning now to ensure that Irish society is an ‘age-friendly’ one in the years ahead.

This National Positive Ageing Strategy provides the blueprint for this planning – for what we can and must do – individually and collectively – to make Ireland a good country in which to grow older. At its core, this National Positive Ageing Strategy seeks to create a shift in mind-set in how we conceptualise ageing and what needs to be done to promote positive ageing.

In the past, policy relating to older people tended to deal almost exclusively with health and social care issues. This Strategy seeks to highlight that ageing is not just a health issue – it requires a whole of Government response to address a range of interconnected social, economic and environmental factors that affect health and wellbeing. In addressing the broader determinants of health across the administrative spectrum, the National Positive Ageing Strategy is a new departure in policy-making for ageing in Ireland.

The Strategy also highlights that ageing is a lifelong process that does not start at 65 years of age – the choices that we make when young and middle aged will determine how healthy we will be in our old age.

Welcoming the publication of the National Positive Ageing Strategy, Minister Lynch stated that “Positive ageing is in everyone’s interests and this Strategy provides an important and timely opportunity for Ireland to formally recognise, at a national level, the need for all sectors of society to plan properly for individual and population ageing in Ireland – it is of relevance to everyone in Ireland, no matter what age he or she may be”.

She went on to say that the Strategy is a call to action to Government Departments, other statutory agencies at a national and local level and the community, voluntary and private sectors to ‘start now’ and to take their lead from the strategic direction laid down in the National Positive Ageing Strategy to ensure that older people are, in the words of the Programme for Government commitment, ‘recognised, supported and enabled to live independent full lives’.

The National Positive Ageing Strategy will be publicly available on the Department of Health’s website, Here

Mary Mitchell O’Connor and Min. Fitzgerald focus on women, children and families in Dun Laoghaire

Fine Gael Dun Laoghaire Deputy, Mary Mitchell O’Connor will this Thursday, 25th April, welcome the Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald TD, to Dun Laoghaire, where the Minister will officially open the Cottage Home Family Support Service, visit the Harold Primary School and address the Women in Business Alliance at the Dun Laoghaire Chamber of Commerce.

Deputy Mitchell O’Connor said: ‘The official opening of the Cottage Home Family Support Service will be met with a real sense of achievement by those involved in the project. The voluntary organisation, which began as a crèche, has been in existence since 1897. The service, which is self-funded, now provides valuable early intervention and family support services, including home visits, parenting support, home visits and counselling and play therapy.

“Minister Fitzgerald and I will then meet with the Women In Business Alliance at the Dun Laoghaire Chamber of Commerce, where the Minister will address the meeting. Ensuring that women are supported to reach their full potential and to succeed in business is a key objective of this Government, which has earmarked funding to support women’s participation in the labour market and local community projects across the country.

“Getting the balance right by encouraging women to return to the labour market and enable them to attain equal success in reaching their business goals is essential to the creation of an well-adjusted and equitable society. Providing services which allow families who are struggling to cope with everyday life is key to building solid family structures and functioning communities.

“Schools such as the Harold Primary School, which we will also visit are helping to identify the gaps that are causing difficulties where raising a family are concerned. The school is facilitating parents through the provision of after school care, which is run by professional childcare workers. This demonstrates a constructive approach to our childcare needs as the school, which is owned by the taxpayer, can deliver after school care at a significantly reduced price.

“Harold Primary School could well be used as a blueprint for the after school care needs of parents, which I will be pointing out to the Minister tomorrow during our visit. The official opening of the Cottage Cottage Home Family Support Service will acknowledge the essential family support work that is being carried out at community level. The Minister’s address to the Women in Business Alliance will do the same for female entrepreneurs and the local business community.”

Date: Thursday, 25th April 2013
Venue: The Cottage Home Family Support Service, Scoil Mhuire, Rathsallagh, Shankill
Time: 2pm
Venue: Harold Primary School, Eden Road, Glasthule,
Time: 5pm
Venue: Women in Business Alliance, Dun Laoghaire Chamber of Commerce,1 Haigh Terrace 
Time: 6pm

25 April 2013

Government plan for 20,000 new manufacturing jobs by 2016

Forfás and Expert Group on Future Skills Needs prepare strategies aimed at delivering on potential for 43,000 new jobs in the sector by 2020

The Government today (Monday 22 April) published its plans for 20,000 additional jobs in the manufacturing sector by 2016.
The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, and the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairi Quinn TD, published strategies prepared as part of the Action Plan for Jobs.
Last year Minister Bruton tasked a group led by industry experts with coming up with a plan to deliver on the Government’s target of 20,000 additional jobs in the sector. The strategies launched today, prepared by Forfás and the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs, are aimed at delivering on that ambition.
Key actions are proposed across a range of areas, including; access to new funding, management training and support, costs reduction and technology adoption.
Among the specific measures proposed are:
· A new Start-up Fund run by Enterprise Ireland specifically targeting supports for new manufacturing start-ups;
· EnterpriseIreland to introduce a new Capability Fund to support capital investment by manufacturing companies;
· EI and IDA to target additional financial supports for R&D investment specifically targeted at engineering firms;
· A new National Step Change Initiative available to all EI and IDA client companies that will systematically support manufacturing companies to
expand their client base through staff training and Peer Learning
improve their adoption of new technologies and embrace R&D
accelerate collaboration between companies in similar sectors to generate greater efficiencies in areas like global sourcing
· Proposals to maintain or reduce costs to manufacturing companies across areas like energy, waste, regulation, tax etc.
· Better targeting of training at skills shortages in the manufacturing sector through the implementation of the Manufacturing Skills study.
The plan will be implemented and monitored as part of the Action Plan for Jobs process, driven by the Department of the Taoiseach.
The Ministers made the announcement today at Prodieco, an Irish manufacturing company established in 1962 which in recent years adapted to changing trends and now exclusively supplies packaging to the pharmaceutical industry, employing 130 people.
Minister Bruton said: “Despite a substantial decline over the past decade, manufacturing is a crucial sector employing over 200,000 people directly and a similar number indirectly. We in Government believe that the sector has substantial capacity for jobs growth, and that is why we decided two years ago to examine new ways of targeting support at manufacturing.
“The industry-led forum which we established to drive change in this sector has made real progress, and the strategy laid out today by Forfás shows that our Action Plan for Jobs target of 20,000 additional jobs in the sector by 2016 is achievable with the right supports from Government.
“Here in Prodieco we can see at first hand what is possible in this sector for companies who show willingness to change and pursue new opportunities for growth. I am determined to ensure that we implement change, support more companies to change and pursue new growth markets, and create the jobs we need”.
Minister Quinn said: “It is clear from the report we are publishing today that manufacturing remains a key employer in this country – but the needs of this sector like a lot of other sectors are evolving rapidly. In order to maximise opportunities for growth and attracting investment, we need to ensure our people are offered opportunities to upskill and reskill in order to have the relevant, quality skills needed to avail of current and future job opportunities in this sector.
“I am confident we can do this: Irish people are problem solvers, we are innovative, we are flexible and adaptable to change, combined with our technical expertise we can work in multi-disciplinary teams and with different cultures.
“The Forfas Strategy and complementary report from the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs set out clearly what we need to do in order to address the future skills challenges and the existing small but important number of skills gaps in the new era for manufacturing. Already my Department through the HEA, FAS and Skillnets are addressing some of these challenges through upskilling and re-skilling conversion programmes such as, Springboard 2013 and Momentum. But, as the report identifies, we also need to show jobseekers, school-leavers and their parents clearly the job opportunities and career paths that still exist in manufacturing.”
Martin D. Shanahan, Chief Executive of Forfás, commented: “Today, the manufacturing sector in Ireland employs 205,700 people directly, and as many people again indirectly. We need a continued and concerted effort to address the barriers to growth in manufacturing. The employment outlook for the sector depends critically on addressing domestic competitiveness factors and a favourable international trading environment. Companies are operating in an intensely competitive global arena and although Ireland’s cost competitiveness has improved over recent years, it is imperative that we continue to drive structural change and sustained improvements in our competitiveness. A further improvement in our cost competitiveness is required to assist the manufacturing sector to grow. Access to finance for Irish firms is continuously highlighted to us by companies as the number one issue.”

22 April 2013

Minister launches new Government of Ireland International Scholarships to strengthen links with emerging markets

Minister also praises International Student Ambassadors who are promoting Ireland as a study destination
A new international scholarship scheme, aimed at attracting top students from priority and emerging markets to study in Ireland, is being launched by the Minister for Education and Skills.
The first group of 20 international students have received their scholarships. The students from India, China and Brazil are in either their final year of undergraduate studies or at post-graduate level. Under the Government of Ireland International Scholarships they have all fees and registration charges waived and also receive €10,000 to cover living expenses for one year of study in Ireland.
A further 22 scholarships will be awarded to students from China, India, Brazil and the United States for the 2013/14 academic year.
Minister Ruairi Quinn said, “This new scholarship scheme is a key part of our efforts to promote Ireland as a centre for international study. International students contribute over a billion Euro each year to the Irish economy, and this is a priority area in the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs 2013”.
“We are a trading economy, and so we need to raise Ireland’s links with major emerging markets like China, Brazil and India. By awarding scholarships to top students from these countries, we are making an investment in our future trading relationships, which will benefit Irish business, tourism and cultural interests overseas”.
Also acknowledged at the event were participants in Education in Ireland’s International Student Ambassador Programme.
Minister Quinn thanked the Student Ambassadors, nearly 40 of whom have been actively engaged in promoting Ireland through social media, “This outstanding group of young people from around the world are playing a crucial role in promoting Ireland as an education destination. Their tweets, blogs, posts and podcasts are reaching the student audiences we want to hear about Ireland.”
The International Scholars and Student Ambassadors were awarded certificates at the Department of Education and Skills and were honoured by a reception at Áras an Úachtaráin in the presence of the President Michael D. Higgins.
Marina Donohoe, Head of Education at Enterprise Ireland which manages the International Student Ambassador programme added, “Education in Ireland, the umbrella brand for promoting Irish higher education institutions in international markets, is actively targeting students in India, Brazil, the USA, China and the Middle East to encourage them to study in Ireland. The power of social media cannot be underestimated as we seek to interact with international students.
“In January 2012 we had 42,008 online interactions with the Education in Ireland brand. A year on, this number has increased to 631,000 – reflecting the success of Enterprise Ireland’s strategy to promote and drive the Education in Ireland brand online using social media with significant inputs from our International Student Ambassadors. Students talk to each other online. The blogs, videos, tweets and podcasts posted by our Student Ambassadors are a great endorsement of student life in Ireland and a fantastic way to help promote Ireland as a destination for international education”.

22 April 2013

Supporting Cycle Against Suicide

The main objective of the Cycle Against Suicide is to raise awareness of the considerable help and supports that are available for anyone battling depression, self harm, at risk of suicide or those bereaved by suicide.

I am proud to be taking part in this initiative, which takes place around Ireland from Monday 22 April to Sunday 5 May 2013.  Legs are 50 kilometres long, and participants can take part in a section of each leg, an entire leg, multiple legs, or may choose to complete the entire cycle.

We need to continue to spread that message and to teach our young people that depression, anxiety and stress, sadly, are sometimes part of everyday life; but that there is help available and that there is a way out.

To learn more, visit www.cycleagainstsuicide.com. You can also follow @CASuicide on twitter.

20 March 2013

Free Electrical Recycling Days

You will be able to recycle your unwanted electrical items between 10am and 4pm on the dates and at the locations listed.
Date                Location
Sat 20th April – Nutgrove – Nutgrove Shopping Centre
Sat 27th April – Dundrum Village – Dundrum Village Car Park
Sat 11th May – Ballybrack – Tesco Ballybrack
Sat 18th May – Sallynoggin – Power City Sallynoggin
Sat 25th May – Stillorgan – Stillorgan Village Overflow Car Park
Sat 1st June – Shanganagh – Shanganagh Park Car Park