Unemployment falling to 6.4% is welcome news, but further to go

Business, Jobs, Meath, Navan, North Meath, Trim, Wesmeath

Tuesday, 4th April 2017

The CSO has today published monthly unemployment statistics for March
2017 which have been welcomed by Damien English, Minister for Housing
and Urban Renewal and Fine Gael T.D. for Meath West.

“The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to fall. In March the
unemployment rate was 6.4% down from 6.6% in February 2017 and down from 8.3%
in March 2016. This means that there were 141,400 persons (83,500 men,
and 57,900 women) classified as being unemployed in March 2017”
Minister English said.

“We have made fantastic progress under the Action Plan for Jobs
nationally, and under our Regional Action Plans locally.  We cannot
pause and we cannot rest until we restore all of the jobs lost in the
recession and create new jobs and new opportunities for our fast
growing population. Jobs and the taxes that come from them are how we
build our society and our vital public services” concluded Minister


New jobs and disposable household income on the rise in Meath and Westmeath – English

Action Plan for Housing, Action Plan for Jobs, Budget 2017, Business, Funding, Housing and Urban Renewal, Jobs, Meath, Navan, North Meath, Research and Innovation, Skills, Trim

Thursday, 23rd March 2017

CSO report shows increases in jobs and disposable household income in
all regions of the country

“Recent CSO data shows that disposable income in Meath and Westmeath
households is on the increase.” That’s according to the Minister for
Housing and Urban Renewal and Meath West T.D. Damien English. Minister
English credits a growing economy, with more people back at work, for
this positive development.

“The most recent CSO data shows that in 2014, all regions across the
country showed increases in disposable household income. Here in Meath
there was a 4.5% increase in disposable household income in 2014
compared to 2013, while in Westmeath the figure was 3.1% which was the
highest for any midland county. This positive development is thanks to
our growing economy, which has seen more people back at work.
Unemployment has fallen to 6.6% down from a high of 15.2% back in
2011. There are now over two million people at work.  But we cannot
rest until we reach full employment again locally and nationally”
Minister English said.

“The increase in disposable income obviously has a positive knock on
effect here in Meath in Westmeath as people have a little more money
in their pockets, which is good news for local businesses and services
and spreads the benefits of recovery to all in society.

“We are seeing the evidence of this in the latest Enterprise Ireland
figures, which show that 200 new full and part-time jobs were
delivered in 2016 by the 207 small businesses in Meath that have been
supported by the Local Enterprise Offices. These businesses support a
total of  927 jobs here in Meath. No doubt they will benefit from this
increase in household disposable income locally, and we will see
further jobs created by small businesses. In Westmeath there were 283
new jobs in 265 Local Enterprise Office supported companies,
delivering a new total of 1,375 jobs at the end of 2016 in this

“Fine Gael is working hard to build a fair and compassionate society
with thriving communities across every region of Ireland. In order to
do so we must protect and sustain the economic progress we have made,
so that we can use it benefit the people who need it most. That
economic progress has been hard won over the last 6 years. We cannot
afford to throw it all away on other parties who would risk our

”Fine Gael is working day and night to ensure that every single family
in Meath and Westmeath sees the benefits of an economy that is growing
strongly once again.”

English welcomes consistent fall in unemployment – 175,000 people back to work

Action Plan for Jobs, Jobs, Meath, Navan

Friday, 4th November 2016

English welcomes consistent fall in unemployment – 175,000 people back to work

Meath playing its part with Shire planning permission says local Minister

“I welcome the news this month that unemployment has again fallen to
7.7%.  This is one of the lowest figures in the E.U., where we also
remain the fastest growing economy.  It represents the success of the
Action Plan for Jobs nationally since February 2012 with 175,000 new
jobs since then.  It also shows the success of local efforts like
Meath County Council’s own Economic Development Plan.  The news that
Shire has been granted its planning permission in Dunboyne shows that
Meath is open for business and is a jobs friendly County. I want to
compliment Meath County Council staff for their work in promoting
enterprise and investment.  As a Minister in Government and as a Meath
T.D. I will continue to work for inward investment for the County, and
help local firms who want to expand” stated Minister English.

“Every new job represents hope restored, it represents an individual
or a family with a new income and equality of opportunity to engage
fully in our country.   As we near full employment again it also means
Government has more resources to tackle the many social issues and
vital public services in need of attention. This is why jobs and
reaching full employment again must remain our focus” concluded
Minister English.


English welcomes halving of unemployment since 2008

Action Plan for Housing, Action Plan for Jobs, Apprenticeships, Business, I.T., Innovation, Jobs, Meath, Navan, North Meath, Rebuilding Ireland, Research and Innovation, Skills, Startups

Monday, 10th October 2016

Local Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal and Fine Gael T.D. for
Meath West Damien English has welcomed the recent news from the CSO
that unemployment has effectively halved since the financial crisis
hit Ireland in 2008.

However he said continued effort was needed locally in Meath and
nationally to reach full employment with a constant focus on skills,
innovation and the importance of local SMEs as well as FDI.

“In Meath our native agri-food sector, Boyne Valley Food Series, Boyne
Valley Food Hub and Tourism sector are all strong local assets for
more local and sustainable jobs” Minister English stated.

“Now standing at 286,490, the unadjusted Live Register has dropped
below 300,000 for the first time since 2008. This is a year on year
decrease of 13.92%. It’s further evidence that good progress is being
made in tackling joblessness and helping people back into work.

Three major milestones have now been passed since Fine Gael entered
Government in 2011:  1) the Live Register falling below 300,000 2)
unemployment falling from its peak of 15% to below 8%, and 3) the
number of people employed exceeding two million, all for the first
time in eight years” Minister English stated.

“To reach full employment we must continue one-to-one engagements with
jobseekers; we must keep talking to business people about the barriers
in creating jobs, making work pay through sustainable wage increases
and finally tax reductions that also make work pay and welfare less
attractive. Developing new policies, investment and infrastructure
across the whole of Government in education, training, housing and
childcare all depends on reaching full employment” concluded Minister


Speech to National Construction Summit Sustaining the Momentum

Housing and Urban Renewal, Jobs, Navan, Wesmeath

Speech by

Damien English T.D.

Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal

at the

National Construction Summit

Sustaining the Momentum

15 June 2016



Opening Remarks

Ladies and Gentlemen, Chairman Tom Parlon, thank you for the opportunity to address the National Construction Summit at the RDS.

My main aim today is to talk to you about the number one priority for Government – Housing.

I am here to ask you to get involved in the design and the delivery of the Action Plan for Housing; our plan to create a more sustainable housing market.

The residential sector, as you are aware, has been very slow to recover, and there is a very significant pent-up demand.

The unmet demand is contributing to significant increases in rental costs and putting people at risk of homelessness.

The annual requirement for new homes is around 25,000 but the industry output is currently well below this level.

Just over 12,600 housing units were completed last year. Without intervention it may stay there.

Yet, there is enough planning permission in Dublin alone for 27,000 houses. Indeed there is enough zoned land for 88,000 houses in Dublin.

About half require some infrastructure but most of it is localised and not very high cost.


There are 4,400 housing units under construction on building sites in Dublin – that is, 4,400 of the 27,000 with full planning permission out of the 88,000 in terms of zoned land.

Clearly, the potential exists to dramatically increase housing output in and around Dublin with the right interventions around planning, infrastructure and the financials to make things happen.




We need to get these sites moving, we need the houses and apartments. People and families need homes and the growing economy needs a functioning housing market.


There’s a role for everyone in this room to get things moving along with:


The Department


The local authorities


Land Owners


Financiers and investors.


The bottom line is we need to increase the supply of Housing;   private houses for sale, social housing, affordable rental accommodation – or better yet sites that can provide a combination of all these.

A lot has been done already to make housing projects more viable and to boost supply, but Government accepts it needs to do more.



Action Plan for Housing:


In response to the on-going supply problems, Government are well underway on drafting the Action Plan for Housing.


The Government aims to achieve a dramatic change in circumstances around the housing system as quickly as we can.


So we want to hear from all stakeholders. We will take on board practical the ideas that will work, ideas that represent the best value for the public finances.


I know that many of you in this room have appeared before the Oireachtas Committee on Housing and Homelessness, and this will feed directly into the Action Plan.

I want you all to know that my door is open to you. I know from my experience with the Action Plan for Jobs that it’s only through a partnership approach that demanding goals can be met.


In 2012 when the Action Plan for Jobs started we stated that we will help to create 100,000 net new jobs in the private sector. A lot of people laughed. But the situation with unemployment at the time was no laughing matter.


The Action Plan allowed for a partnership approach to putting into effect the necessary steps that were needed to assist the jobs market.


A step by step approach across all Government Departments, together with all Stakeholders, ensured that we reached our targets. In fact we exceeded them.


Over 135,000 jobs net new jobs were created in the private sector. The Action Plan for Jobs was a success.


I have no doubt whatsoever that the same logical process; step by step, action by action will deliver on Housing too.


To this end I would welcome any suggestions that you might have by email to:




My Department will also be organising stakeholder consultation events on the Action Plan and your participation and input would be very welcome.




Potential Actions:

A couple of things we’re looking at in the context of the action plan include

Firstly, an infrastructure fund aimed at opening up residential developments, particularly at affordable price levels, was announced yesterday.


The Government will be seeking firm commitments that houses will be built where enabling infrastructure is put in place.


We are examining measures to boost the supply of student housing. There is a demand for 25,000 units. This will free up the private rental market


Currently around 3% of the Irish population is aged over 80. By 2060 that figure will have more than trebled. We need to plan and deliver housing for an older and longer living population.


An affordable rental scheme is being developed to help households on low to moderate incomes


Also the Programme for Government outlines our commitment to accelerate the delivery of the €3.8 billion Social Housing Strategy


In terms of Finance, we wish to develop ways to have better access to more affordable money & to reduce the cost of developing houses.

In addition the ISIF has been engaged in a number of important initiatives to help increase housing outputs.

Activate Capital is a €500 million non-bank fund which has been established by ISIF and global investment group KKR.

To date in 2016, Activate has provided site and working capital finance for the delivery of 800 homes. Activate’s pipeline for new-home construction funding is strong.

In addition, ISIF is also working closely with Ardstone Capital on delivering residential units to the market over the short to medium-term.


We are also committed to examining all aspects of the “viability equation” particularly input costs, to help ensure that housing is intrinsically affordable, to bring on stream, whether for buyers or providers.


Increasing supply is a major priority but ensuring the quality and standard of the new supply is just as important to me.


I do appreciate that there are additional costs of construction in doing so compared to 10 years ago. But we must sell the long term benefits of a better quality & a better built home. This includes recognition for those registered builders on the Construction Industry Register Ireland.

In addition, revitalising cities, towns, villages and communities is a key objective of mine and my Department. Housing actions in this space are being developed to complement the broader programmes and projects. I know from your own submissions that you are in agreement with this.



To conclude, the housing situation is in many ways a result of the positive growth in our economy.


The crucial thing now is to use the Action Plan for Housing to build on this base so that we continue to grow the sector to sustainable levels.


Given the gravity of the situation we are thinking radically and are prepared to do whatever it takes to mend the housing system in Ireland.

Once the Action Plan for Housing is put in place it will be very important that the construction sector responds and I will seek assurances that if we deliver, that you will too.


I have no doubt that the construction sector has a vital role to play in the recovery of the economy. I see good potential for the sector to rebuild to a sustainable level.


The Action Plan for Housing can be the catalyst for change in the sector. I look forward to hearing your views on solving the housing crisis and in putting the sector on a sustainable footing – growing from 6% of GNP to 15%.


The Government will actively play its part with the Action Plan. Minister Coveney and I want to assure you, we will continue to address the challenges in the sector in a targeted and meaningful way.

Thank You.

387 additional new Enterprise Ireland jobs in Meath in 2015, an increase of 6% on the previous year.

Action Plan for Jobs, Business, Jobs, Meath, Wesmeath

“In Meath, 6,855 people are employed in the 164 companies supported by the Department of Jobs, through Enterprise Ireland.

“These companies created 387 additional new jobs in Meath in 2015, an increase of 6% on the previous year.

“Over 2,050 additional new EI jobs have been created in Meath since the launch of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs. This compares to over 800 job losses in the last three years of Fianna Fáil’s term in Government (2008 – 2010).

“This job creation is having an important knock on impact. For every job created in an EI supported company, it is estimated that one additional job is created elsewhere in the economy, so approximately another 2,000 indirect jobs have been created in Meath since the launch of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs.

Enterprise Ireland figures show that Govt’s job creation plan is working – English

Action Plan for Jobs, Business, Jobs, Meath, Wesmeath

Damien English, Fine Gael TD for Meath West and Minister of State at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, has said that Enterprise Ireland figures released today (Tuesday) show that the Government’s job creation plan is working.

“Enterprise Ireland (EI) supported companies added just over 10,000 net new jobs to the economy in 2015. This brings total employment in those companies to 192,223, which is a record high for Enterprise Ireland.

“These figures just describe the EI job creation success. In total, over 135,000 new jobs have been added to the economy since the launch of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs. Unemployment has now dropped to 8.8% according to the CSO, and we are in the process of reducing the high tax burden that Fianna Fáil introduced to pay for their mistakes.

“By contrast, instead of learning from the economic crash, Fianna Fáil wasted four and a half years in opposition. Unbelievably, the party that destroyed 300,000 jobs still has no job creation plan.

“Compared to the housing led bubble created by Fianna Fáil, when Fine Gael was last in Government, we created a lean export-led economy that was creating 1,000 jobs a week. This is exactly what we have been working hard to recreate over the last five years. Today’s figures show that this is working; in net terms, Irish exporting companies have 10,169 extra people working with them compared with one year ago.

“I would like to pay tribute to the hard work of Irish businesses in starting up, scaling up and growing their businesses. The jobs they have created in this country over the last five years have been invaluable to the economic recovery and have ensured that young people once again have opportunities here.

“Today’s EI results, also confirm that this is not just a Dublin based recovery. Almost two thirds of the new jobs created were outside Dublin, and all of the regions recorded increases in full-time employment over the period.  We have a plan to continue this regional growth; our Regional Action Plans for Jobs are designed to increase employment in every region by 10-15% between now and 2020.

“Fine Gael has a plan to keep the recovery going and ensure that everyone can feel the benefit. Crucial to this is continued job creation. More people in work creates the resources to cut taxes for working people and invest in better services, improving living standards for all. We cannot go back to the same old Fianna Fáil who wrecked the economy, have learned nothing from the past and are still the high tax party. We will finish the job and replace all the jobs lost in the crash to ensure a better quality of life for all.”

Fall of 36.5% in Meath Live Register as local economy strengthens – English

Action Plan for Jobs, Budget 2016, Business, Jobs, Meath, Navan, Startups

Fine Gael TD for Meath West, Damien English, has said that the steady reduction in the number of people signing on the Live Register in Meath is strengthening the growing local economy.

“The latest CSO data shows that the Live Register in Meath has fallen by 36.5% since the launch of the Action Plan for Jobs in 2012, while the national unemployment rate is now 8.9%.

“We are seeing economic progress, with over 135,000 more people at work, but we cannot take for granted that stability and recovery will continue. It is also important that we ensure the recovery continues to spread to all parts of the country, including here in Meath.

“A drop in the number of people signing on the Live Register is very positive and highlights the growth in the local economy. More people in work creates the resources to cut taxes for working people and invest in better services.

“It is important that jobs are created that pay more than welfare and where hard work is rewarded. Fine Gael has a plan to ensure that parents earning the minimum wage receive a top-up to encourage them to enter the work-force. This move will also support small local businesses.

“Plans are also in place to eliminate the USC during the term of the next Government. This harsh tax, introduced by Fianna Fáil, is a burden on workers and I have been working for some time on behalf of the people of Meath to get rid of it.

“This Government will work to keep the economic recovery going, which helps to provide better services for all of society. The Regional Action Plan for Jobs is being rolled out to drive further job creation in Meath and I am optimistic that the numbers signing onto the Live Register will continue to fall as the Government continues to implement our plan.”

English encourages potential Gardaí in Meath to apply for new posts

Jobs, Law and Order
Recruitment of 600 new Gardaí now underway on publicjobs.ie

Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Skills, Research and Innovation and Fine Gael TD for Meath West, Damien English, has encouraged those interested in Meath to apply for one of 600 new positions available with An Garda Síochána. The recruitment campaign is now underway and applications are being accepted on
www.publicjobs.ie until 5th January 2016.

“The Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, today (Friday) announced the opening of a recruitment campaign for new members of An Garda Síochána in 2016. The 600 new Gardaí, to be recruited next year, will bring to 1,150 the total number of new recruits since the reopening of Templemore in September 2014.  

“So far 295 new recruits have completed their training and are now are on the ground in communities nationwide as fully fledged members of An Garda Síochána. It is expected that successful candidates from the 2016 campaign will enter the Garda College from mid-2016.

“Serving as a member of An Garda Síochána is a great privilege, but the position comes with great responsibility. I know that there are many capable and ambitious people in Meath who would make an excellent contribution to the force and I would encourage anyone interested to apply.

“The ongoing recruitment of Gardaí is testament to this Government’s commitment to supporting An Garda Síochána and to ensuring that they have to resources necessary to protect our communities.

“This Government has reopened Templemore after it was closed by the previous Government; €46 million has been allocated for Garda vehicles, many of which will be high-power vehicles for targeted operations; €18 million is being provided for the refurbishment of Garda stations and €205 million has been invested in new technology for An Garda Síochána This is part of an unprecedented allocation of €875 million in capital funding for the Justice sector.

“We know that 75% of burglaries are carried out by 25% of criminals so Minister Fitzgerald has published the Criminal Justice (Burglary of Dwellings) Bill, which will mean tougher sentences for repeat burglars and she has launched Operation Thor to tackle rural crime.

“It is essential that we keep the recovery going so that we can continue to invest in public services and to provide resources for An Garda Síochána who do such valuable work.”

Minister English’s Budget 2016 Speech

Action Plan for Jobs, Apprenticeships, Budget 2016, Business, Education, I.T., Jobs, Meath, Research and Innovation, Skills, Speeches, Startups, Wesmeath

On Wednesday night 14th October I addressed the Dáil on Budget 2016:

This budget is designed to support the recovery, hard pressed families and begin future proofing the economy.

This budget is neither the hair shirt budget that some Economists have called for, nor is the silk shirt that the opposition seem to think we can afford, rather it is a prudent budget that will create jobs.

It will remove barriers to work and make work pay, grow the economy and keep the recovery going while reducing the current account deficit.

Business in Ireland has welcomed this budget. Danny McCoy of IBEC said “The budget is right for the economy at this time and signals a new phase of economic development. The crisis is behind us and we are planning ahead. The Government has taken on board the concerns of business, reduced tax and encouraged private investment.”

ISME and the SFA have also welcomed the Budget. The SFA Chairman, A J Noonan stated “This Budget is a strong endorsement by Government of the importance of entrepreneurship and small business in Ireland.”

But this is not just a budget for business and jobs, it is also a budget for our young families.

My constituency of Meath West has one of the highest concentrations of young families in the country, with a youth dependency ratio of over 38%.

You only have to walk around the streets of Navan, Trim or Enfield to see just how young our communities are. Our young population means we can look forward to a more hopeful future, but families cannot live on hope alone.

They need help now and this budget does just that.

Cutting USC, raising child benefit, and extending the free preschool scheme to accommodate all three to five year olds will benefit young families in Meath West and throughout the country.

These families endured a lot of the pain in the recession it is only right that they get some of the gain from the national recovery.

Talk to any parent on the doorsteps in Meath West – education and the future of our children is a major focus. This budget will reduce class sizes; it will recruit an additional 2,260 teachers.

This budget will deliver a better education to our children and will invest in career guidance. This will help our children chose the courses and the skills they need to get a good job and build a better future.

With this budget young school leavers will now have a lot more choice in their career paths.

We are investing an additional €10.5m to effectively double the number of Apprenticeship Schemes available in Ireland.

These 25 new Apprenticeship Schemes will cover areas such as


Transport and Logistics,

Financial Services,

Tourism and Hospitality

and the bulk of these will be delivered in 2016.

We need to refocus the third level system to create a more enterprise responsive educational system; we need to provide the skills that students and industry require.

Future proofing the Economy is all about building skills at all levels including our pool of research skills.

Ireland’s future economic growth and prosperity will depend on our continued investment in science, technology and innovation.

This investment is all about developing:

A competitive knowledge based economy and society;

Driving innovation in enterprise;

Building human capital

And maximising the return on R&D investment for economic and social progress.

Investment in research and development is crucial for creating and maintaining high-value jobs.

In addition to the investment announced yesterday, my Department will be allocating an additional €29m specifically for investment in research and innovation to spend before the end of this year.

In addition to this, the overall 2016 capital investment will allow Enterprise Ireland to:

Support 100 Innovative High Potential start Up Companies in 2016 employing 2,000 people.

Issue six Competitive Start Fund calls with a target of financially supporting 85 innovative entrepreneurs.

Fund over 100 in-company R&D projects for companies that are valued in excess €100,000, and

Continue the development of Knowledge Transfer Ireland and the wider national Technology Transfer system to create 30 new spinout companies

For Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the 2016 allocation will:

Continue to fund the 12 SFI Research Centres, which represents an investment of €355m from the government and €190m from over 200 industry partners.

Train some 3000 researchers for key positions in Industry

Science Foundation Ireland will also undertake a recruitment campaign in partnership with the Irish Universities to attract world-class researchers.

I am pleased that Ireland’s participation in the European Space Agency (ESA) will continue to support a growing number of Irish companies in the rapidly expanding European and Global space markets. In this sector we will see:

A doubling of sales to over €80m

A rise in total employment to over 2,300, and

An expansion in the number of companies actively engaged with ESA to over 75

We are competing in an ever more competitive global environment. I am therefore pleased to report that work is almost complete on a new Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation.

It is now time for fresh strategic ideas to make research work to maximum effect for the country.

The vision for the new Strategy will be underpinned by 5 key goals:

an internationally competitive research system;

excellent research with relevance and impact for the economy and for society;

a renowned pool of talent in both academia and industry;

a joined-up research eco-system, responsive to emerging opportunities;

and a strong innovative enterprise base, growing employment, sales and exports.

We need to ensure that we have a world leading state-of-the-art research and innovation ecosystem in Ireland.

I am confident that the upcoming Strategy will provide us with the roadmap to deliver on this ambition for Ireland.

To conclude a Leas Ceann Comhairle,

This Budget charts a responsible, prudent path to fiscal stability, economic growth and opportunity.

The Budget marks a new stage in Ireland’s road to full recovery and a more sustainable future.

It will support that recovery and will begin to future proof the economy.

I commend this budget to the House and to the country.