Donegal south west TD Thomas Pringle has claimed a cohesive regional development plan for job creation has been abandoned in favour of “high optic photo-calls for international announcements”.
He said in the Dáil that in Donegal “families and communities are being destroyed” in the current economic crisis.
“The destruction of families and communities in my home county of Donegal is a painful thing to see, and is tearing apart the very fabric of our social capital. Emigration is keeping the live register figures for Donegal down at just over 22k. This report is the only feasible option that this Government has to reduce unemployment in the Northwest,” he stated.
The Independent TD expressed his “deep concern” at the lack of a cohesive regional development plan for jobs, which he describes as the “backbone of the jobs creation portfolio of this Government”.
Speaking to the Taoiseach at Leaders’ Questions on the matter, Deputy Pringle stated: “It would appear that indigenous home-grown job creation plans are being relegated to the subs bench in favour of high optic photo-calls for international announcements.
“While everyone welcomes the recent jobs announcements by SAP, Apple and other foreign direct investments, the Government seem to be selective in parts and don’t put the shoulder to the wheel when it comes to supporting ground up solutions.”
He explained further: “For instance, the Western Development Commission’s report on the Creative Sector in the Western Region, ‘Future Growth Trajectories’, outlines the possibility of creating 20,000 jobs over the next 10 years within the area of creative industries. This is something which warrants real attention in an economy that is looking for answers, but has so far been ignored.”
He added that to date across the seven counties of Donegal, Mayo, Galway, Leitrim, Roscommon, Clare and Sligo this sector reported total sales of €206 million in 2010. Exports for this sector are close to €57 million annually.
“Currently, the focus is entirely on FDI and ignores the potential of the domestic economy and the urgency for the domestic economy to be supported. This approach must change if the Government is serious about rural job creation and preventing further mass emigration which is decimating the rural landscape,” stated Pringle.