Government fails to appoint building sector representative to Action Plan for Jobs Industry Partners panel

The Taoiseach and the Minister for Jobs today [Tuesday] announced the appointment of 6 Industry Partners to assist with the implementation and monitoring of the seven “Disruptive Reforms” identified by Government for implementation in 2013 as part of the Action Plan for Jobs. A noted omission was a representative from the building sector.

In reaction to the news the CIF have re iterated their comments made at the time of the publication of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs 2013, which they say ‘underlined the need to have a representative for the construction sector in the Government’. The CIF stated that the sector needs a voice in Government fighting for the industry if the large numbers of unemployed former construction workers is to be addressed.

From the 333 points put forward by the Government in the updated Action Plan a total of 5 actions points relating specifically to the construction sector and only 3 of these were new points. This is despite 109,000 former construction workers being currently on the Live Register, representing one quarter of total unemployment.

Speaking in reaction to the plan when launched, CIF Director General Tom Parlon said, “Any actions to reduce the number of unemployed construction workers must be welcomed. In that sense the CIF looks forward to seeing the Government bringing forward the measures they have outlined in the latest Action Plan relating to the construction sector.

“The ongoing review of the development management guidelines will help our industry and the CIF also eagerly awaits the publication of the Forfas strategy for the construction sector. There were also some measures relating to the green economy and foreign direct investment which will in time create construction work.

“However we are disappointed that only 5 of the 333 action points brought forward specifically deal with the construction sector and of those 2 points have been recycled from the 2012 plan. Surely the Government should be bringing forward more measures to create employment opportunities for the sector that is responsible for one in four of the people on the dole queues?

“It is another example of how the construction sector is not receiving sufficient representation in Government. We’ve seen this with the ongoing delay in enacting the Construction Contracts Bill, the lack of action to help the sector in Budget 2013 and on numerous other occasions.

Todays announcement states that: The intention is that the 6 Industry Partners will bring their skills and experience to bear in monitoring the implementation of the Disruptive Reforms, help identify opportunities for greater efficiency in the delivery of the proposals and help deliver greater collaboration between the public and private sectors in delivering jobs policies.

The six Industry Partners appointed by Government are;

1. Liam Casey is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of PCH International

2. John Herlihy* is Vice President, International SMB Sales and Head of Google Ireland

3. Sean O’Driscoll is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Glen Dimplex Group

4. Louise Phelan is Vice President of Global Operations Europe Middle East and Africa for PayPal

5. Heather Reynolds is an owner and Director of Eishtec

6. Dave Shanahan is Head of Strategic Health Initiatives worldwide in AbbVie.

The 6 Industry Partners will join the Action Plan for Jobs Implementation and Monitoring Group, a high level Officials and Advisers grouping, co-chaired by the Secretary Generals of the Department of the Taoiseach and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. In parallel with their role on the Action Plan for Jobs Implementation Group the Industry Partners will be appointed to sit on a newly reconfigured National Competitiveness Council.

In addition, as part of the new mandate for the National Competitiveness Council the NCC will be charged with working directly with the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in advising on the content of the “Building Competitive Advantage” section of future Action Plan for Jobs reports.

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, said:

“Getting Ireland working again is the top priority for the Government. Our Action Plan for Jobs is the driver behind many of the reforms underway to make Ireland more attractive and competitive for jobs and investment. This Government has always welcomed input and advice from Ireland’s entrepreneurs as we work together to create new jobs and grow our economy. The assistance of six industry partners and their wealth of experience will help us deliver on some of our major goals in the Action Plan for Jobs and will also influence new competitiveness policy into the future.”

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD said:

“Working in partnership with experienced industry figures can only improve the roll-out of the Disruptive Reforms over the coming year. Their experience and perspective should prove invaluable as we take on these strategically significant challenges. In parallel, a newly configured NCC will generate policy advice and position papers that will also benefit from the involvement of senior industry figures that will also now have exposure to the practical challenges of policy implementation. The sharing of experiences on both sides can, I believe, lead to better policy formulation and better policy implementation. This can only help us in achieving the vital task of growing our economy and getting our people back to work in increasing numbers.”

Mr. Parlon went on to say that: “The industry needs a voice in Government representing our industry and helping to promote construction related issues. As it stands we are falling between the various Departments and none are taking responsibility for promoting construction issues.

“If the Government wants to show the action they are taking to help employment in our sector this is one step which would cost little to the Exchequer but could pay huge social dividends to our industry and to the number of construction workers on the Live Register,” Mr. Parlon concluded.