MINISTER for Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation Richard Bruton has acknowledged the “difficult challenges” faced by the Mid-West but said it was too early to say what recommendations of the report by the regional jobs task force will be implemented by his government.
Task force chairman Denis Brosnan expressed frustration at how his interim report was left on a shelf for the best part of two years by Minister Bruton’s predecessor Mary Coughlan and Fine Gael TDs in Limerick and Clare repeatedly called on the previous government to adopt the recommendations. The former Kerry Group boss submitted his final report in recent weeks.
Recommendations included a specific marketing fund for Shannon Airport and reform of local governance in Limerick City and Minister Bruton said such proposed actions were matters for other departments.
“I have only just received the report and I have already sat down and been discussing it with Shannon Development,” said Minister Bruton.
Speaking in Shannon, he added: “there are clearly difficult challenges highlighted by the report and those decisions are ones that will have to be addressed by all my colleagues in government, it’s not down to one minister. So we will be looking at those and seeing which elements we can advance rapidly.”
The Minister insisted his government was introducing national policies to help create jobs everywhere. Announcing investments in Shannon by Zagg and Bustec that will create over 300 jobs between them in the next few years, the Minister said Ireland would “fight tooth and nail” to defend its low corporation tax rate - despite heavy political pressure from fellow EU member states.
“The government is absolutely determined we will not budge one inch on this and I think there is a growing realisation among our colleagues in Europe that the importance of export-driven recovery in Ireland is crucial to Ireland meeting all its obligations. And in the context of export driven recovery, the corporate tax rate is a foundation pillar of that approach and the certainty that gives businesses must be protected,” he said.
On the prospect of further foreign direct investment for the Mid-West, the Minister said: “I had a discussion with the chairman and chief executive (of Shannon Development) and they are confident. They have come through, like everywhere in the economy, a couple of difficult years. They are seeing things improve and are confident for the future”.