Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton.

€250M plan for Border county jobs launched

The Government has today (Monday) launched a North East/North West Action Plan for Jobs, aimed at delivering 10-15% employment growth in the region over the coming years.

The plan is the sixth of eight regional jobs plans to be published over the coming months, as part of a €250M regional jobs strategy led by the Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton TD.

Minister Bruton says that, since the Action Plan for Jobs was launched in early 2012, more than 20,000 extra people are at work in the North East/North West - 12% growth. During the years 2008-2011, 31,600 jobs were lost in the region, he says.

The North East/North West Plan covers Cavan, Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Monaghan and Louth. Key sectors targeted as part of the plan include traditionally strong sectors for the region like agri-food, manufacturing/engineering and tourism, as well as areas targeted for future growth like digital payments, cleantech and creative services. Among the
152 actions in the plan to be delivered over the period 2015-2017 include:

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.

Increase the number of IDA investments in the region by 30-40% up to 2019. This will result in a minimum of 61 additional projects for the North East/North West region by 2019.

The Local Enterprise Offices will disburse over €2.2million in grant funding.

Create 300-500 extra jobs in Gaeltacht regions, supported by Udarás.

Establish two Regional Skills Forums to ensure the flow of critical skills to enterprises in the region.

A Regional Innovation Forum for the North East/North West region to help support more companies to innovate and engage in R&D.

Food sector – new regional food innovation programmes, increase in the number of participants on Food Academy Programme, extra food hubs in the region building on the successful projects already in place

Tourism sector – a new Shannon-Erne Blueway, further development of initiatives around the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland’s Ancient East.

Cross-border initiatives – develop new cross-border initiatives, including initiatives to increase drawdown of research and innovation funding (targeted €16millon to benefit 1400 businesses), greater use of the border as an opportunity for companies to gain their first foothold in export markets.

Minister Bruton said: 'Jobs are growing right across the country, but they are growing faster in some regions than in others. That is why we have put in place the €250million regional jobs strategy, to support regions to play to their strengths and accelerate jobs growth in every area.

'The North East/North West is a region which had historic problems with unemployment, but over recent years thanks to the ingenuity of its workers and businesses it has performed extremely strongly. Since we launched the national Action Plan for Jobs in early 2012 over 20,000 extra people are at work in the region, making it the third fastest growing region in the country in employment terms. Jobs are growing particularly rapidly in exporting companies supported by my Department. However we can do more, and that is why we are putting in place this highly ambitious plan to dramatically accelerate job-creation in the region,' he said.

Minister for Arts and Cavan/Monaghan TD Heather Humphreys said: 'Since the Action Plan for Jobs was launched in 2012, unemployment levels in Cavan and Monaghan have dropped by about 30%.

'This new, targeted regional Action Plan will help to further drive job creation across the border region with a focus on boosting start-ups, increasing the level of IDA investment and providing better supports for local businesses.

'This plan will help to ensure that the economic recovery is felt right across this region as more and more people get back to work.”