We were also able to showcase the very best of our agriculture, sport and dance – That Xi Jinping visit from the viewpoint of… February 29, 2012Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
Many thanks to a friend of the Lounge who forwarded this from one…
The glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel became a little bit brighter this week.
Positive news on jobs
• On Tuesday, PayPal announced 1,000 jobs for Louth, 350 of which will come on line later this year. This is the largest job announcement in Ireland in over five years and comes as a huge boost to the region.
• On Thursday Microsoft announced that they were to invest €375m in their facility at Grange Castle in west Dublin, creating 400 construction jobs and up to 70 long-term IT jobs.
• My Department, through our international network of embassies and missions has been working hard to restore Ireland’s reputation among decision makers around the world. With this week’s announcements, the message is loud and clear: Ireland is getting down to the business of creating jobs.
Xi Jinping visit of great significance
• I was delighted to welcome Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping to Ireland when he landed in Shannon last Friday. This visit was of huge significance when you consider that Ireland was his only stop-off in the EU.
• China has a population of 1.3bn people, almost three times the entire European Union. The country is experiencing rapid economic growth which means that there are massive opportunities there for Irish companies.
• During Mr Xi’s visit, we signed a business co-operation trade agreement, and established a working group to look at future investment opportunities. We were also able to showcase the very best of our agriculture, sport and dance.
• This Govt wants more trade with China, more Irish companies to develop business links in China, and more Chinese investment here so that we can generate more jobs for people in Ireland.
Pathways to work
• Labour is the party of work, and I believe that no-one who loses their job should be allowed to drift without support, into long-term unemployment.
• This week, Joan Burton and Ruairi Quinn launched the Govt’s ‘Pathways to Work’ plan. Under these proposals we are making a commitment to engage positively with every unemployed person to make sure that their first day out of a job is also their first day on the pathway back to work.
• Unlike previous Governments, we are ambitious for those who are out of work. We want to give them every possible support to get on the pathway to a new job and better prospects.
• This announcement comes on top of our Action Plan for Jobs which was launched last week.
Sale of assets now to support job creation
• Under the Troika deal signed off by the previous Govt, we were committed to sell off state assets. Fianna Fail might have been on their way out the door, but were clever in making sure that that amount agreed was not specified in writing. But the Troika left us in no doubt that the figure they were talking about was the €5b sale of assets proposed by Fianna Fail’s McCarthy Report. [not so according to Michael Taft and other's, including inconveniently for this thesis those who...er... actually spoke to the Troika - wbs]
• What was worse, was that the entire proceeds of the sale were to go to paying off our debt.
• In recent weeks, Brendan Howlin managed to renegotiate this aspect of the agreement. While we will still have to sell some state assets, at least now, one third of the amount we raise will now go straight into investment in job creation. In addition, we have consigned the €5b figure to the dustbin and we are now looking at something between €1b and €3b.
• There will definitely be no fire sale of assets and we have made a firm commitment that no strategic state assets will be sold at all.
• If this brings us one step closer to the day when we can wave good bye to the Troika, for once and for all, then it will be worth it.
A busy week!
• We sat the banks down again this week and made it perfectly clear to them, that when it comes to lending to small businesses; issuing new mortgages; and showing flexibility to families in home loan distress, they must step up to the plate. I get the feeling that the message is finally sinking in with them. About time!
• At our 2010 National Conference in Galway, I put forward my proposal for a Constitutional Convention which would look at Bunreacht na hEireann with a view to modernising it. We will be writing to opposition parties to discuss ideas of how the convention might operate, and I expect significant progress on this in the next few weeks.