Check Against Delivery
Speech at Fine Gael Ard Fheis – Damien English TD, Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation
Fine Gael in Government has a long term economic plan to secure the recovery, put people back to work and build a sustainable robust economy. 200,000, 70,000 returning home.
Firstly we stablised the national finances and created the conditions for a return to growth. People now have hope for the future.
Then we used the Action Plans for Jobs process to drive job creation, creating more than a 1000 jobs a week.
More people in work means more tax revenue to invest in delivering improved and reformed public services.
Make no mistake Ireland is in full recovery mode. We now have the fastest growing economy in Europe.
More importantly more and more Irish people are back working in good jobs with good prospects.
We will not sit back, we can’t take growth for granted. We have to future proof the economy through investment in research and skills.
All the other parties out there are eager to spend the fruits of the recovery but have no plan on how to keep it going.
While they have wish lists, we have a long term economic plan to future proof the economy and prevent a return to the boom and bust.
In a marathon you hit the pain barrier about six miles from the end.
A few years ago the Irish people, and the Irish economy hit the pain barrier but we have kept on going on the road to recovery.
Now a few miles short of the finish line to achieve full employment, who pops up at the final water station with burgers and beers encouraging you to party again but Micheal Martin. When really what you need is an isotonic drink that will steady you and keep you going. Likewise Fine Gael’s Long Term plan is the isotonic drink that will keep the will keep the economy steady and well on the road to full employment.
Fianna Fáil have no economic plan to create jobs, to keep the recovery going. In fact when Micheal Martin was last in charge, Ireland saw 300,000 jobs destroyed.
If we follow his advice, it will be like Groundhog Day and we will be back at the start of the marathon again, with more pain to go through.
Fianna Fails preferred bedfellows are proponents of the Slab Murphy School of Economics.
Keep hitting the honest worker to pay for everthing.
Sinn Fein don’t believe in low taxes for jobs. Instead they believe in the approach taken by Syrzia in Greece, look where that got them.
Put the two together and you get the coalition from hell who will tax and squander the recovery into a savage recession.
Fine Gael know we can’t take growth for granted.
The recovery is not an accident.
The recovery is the result of the hard work and sacrifice of the Irish people good Government and prudent policies.
It’s a tough competitive world out there. Growth in China is slowing, the US stock market is falling, there is crisis of confidence in Europe and the West.
If we take growth for granted we will lose it.
We have to stay competitive and we have to focus on the future.
Which is what I have been doing as Minister for Skills Research and Innovation.
We have been putting in place the strategies to create the jobs of the future and make sure the Irish people have the right skills to fill these jobs.
Last month we published Innovation 2020 Ireland’s strategy to become an global leader in research and innovation.
Already ten percent of Intel’s research is done in Ireland Intel’s new Chips are not just built in Ireland they are designed in Ireland.
Kerry Group are now the world’s leading taste and nutrition company their research is reinventing food to make it tastier and healthier.
Innovation 2020 will ensure more companies do research and create the jobs and the companies of the future in Ireland.
Ireland is now in full recovery mode, and within striking distance of full employment.
As we approach full employment making sure Irish workers have the skills that enterprise needs matters more than ever.
If we are to secure the recovery and future proof the Irish economy we need to put in place a long term skills strategy to ensure all of our people can reach their full potential and play an active role in building a better Ireland.
We are doing just that.
Next week we will publish our new Skills Strategy to ensure the Irish people have the skills to fill the jobs of the future.
This strategy sets an ambitious trajectory for the next ten years for skills development in Ireland.
It marks an important step in the evolution of Ireland’s dual track educational system to a system which fully supports life learning and is more responsive than ever to the changing needs of enterprise.
This strategy is based on partnership with enterprise. We are putting in place regional skills fora to ensure business in every region can tell us they skills they need to grow.
At a National Level we are putting in place a new National Skills Council to use real time intelligence to proactively manage emerging skills gaps.
We are also reinventing Apprenticeships for the 21stCentury to provide a low cost high quality path to good jobs and good careers for our young people.
This year will see the doubling of Apprentice Schemes in a host of new areas like IT and Finance.
I want to stress that Apprenticeships are not some kind of second best option for people who can’t get into college.
They are a tried and tested method of training talented people, just ask former Apprentices like Jamie Oliver or Alex Ferguson.
Fine Gael are committing to delivering 50,000 apprenticeships andtraineeships by 2020.
I have three things I want to ask all you here today to help me with.
Firstly we can’t reach our job creation targets unless we bring our emigrants home.
If you have a son or daughter a niece or nephew or friends working abroad tell them its time to think about coming home.
Secondly if you know young people who are trying to figure out what to do in life. Get them to check out an Apprenticeship.
There are literally thousands of well paying jobs out there for people with the right skills. College is not the only option and often it’s not the best option for a host of well paying jobs.
Finally, canvass hard to get this Government back into office.
Leave no door unknocked and no voter in any doubt of the need to keep Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein as far away from power as possible.
Fianna Fail have squandered one boom Sinn Fein want to turn us into a second Greece.
Only Fine Gael has a long term economic plan and with your hard work and commitment we will deliver it and a better brighter future for this country.