FINE Gael appears to have dropped its much-vaunted NewERA jobs policy after the party’s finance spokesman, Michael Noonan, rubbished the plan in a recent radio interview, according to the Minister for Trade and Commerce, Billy Kelleher TD.
“In a statement today, Fine Gael omits any reference to the NewERA plan in the party’s response to the latest set of very disappointing unemployment figures. On the basis that Fine Gael had to launch NewERA several times and uses the tagline at every opportunity in press statements, the omission today could signal that the party has dropped the plan altogether,” said Minister Kelleher.
The move comes after Deputy Noonan claimed the party’s jobs target was a “public relations add-on” in an interview in July.
“Fine Gael appears to have now heeded Deputy Noonan’s criticism and dropped the plan,” said Minister Kelleher.
He said the Government’s focus remains on protecting and creating jobs and effecting economic recovery.
“The loss of a job is devastating and these figures are again very disappointing but Government policy is necessarily geared towards getting the economy back on track. The Government is investing almost €1.2 billion in our job creation agencies to create more than 270,000 jobs up to 2016.
“A further 30,000 jobs will be supported annually under the capital infrastructure programme while some 10,000 jobs will created through retrofitting and energy projects. Over the next six years, we will invest €2.4 billion in science, technology and innovation programmes to create new high-quality jobs,” said Minister Kelleher.
He pointed out that initiatives such as the Employer Job (PRSI) Incentive Scheme, Employment Subsidy Scheme and Enterprise Stabilisation Fund are supporting employers and securing jobs.
“Our training programmes and extra places in further and higher education are re-skilling our workforce to take up new jobs. And we have set up the Credit Review Office to adjudicate on lending decisions as part of Government efforts to force banks to lend to viable small businesses,’ he concluded.