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€250 million plan to accelerate jobs growth in towns and villages across the country

Action Plan for Jobs - Regional aimed at encouraging communities and agencies in each region to work together to support job-creation Minister Bruton – jobs are now growing in every region of the country, we need to accelerate this

The Government today announced details of its 5-year, €250million strategy aimed at accelerating the jobs recovery in every part of the country.

Action Plan for Jobs – Regional is based on the principle that the best way to support job-creation in towns and villages across the country is to support agencies and organisations within each region to build on the particular strengths and assets of their area and drive new job-creation strategies and projects.

The strategy will be based on the successful Action Plan for Jobs model of setting out lists of actions with timelines and responsibility allocated, and then monitoring implementation. The initiative is being led by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD and will include three main elements:

  • Each of the 8 regions (below) will develop its own Action Plan. Lead responsibility for coordinating the development of the plan will be assiged to an Enterprise Ireland or IDA Ireland official in each region. Stakeholders including enterprise agencies, educational institutions, local authorities, business and community groups will be responsible for working together to develop the Action Plan in each region. The first plan will be published in the coming weeks for the Midlands, with 6 plans published by July and all 8 in place by Q3
  • To support and encourage regional stakeholders in working together, up to €100million in Enterprise Ireland funding will be made available over 5 years through a series of competitive calls. The first tranche of €50million will be made available from 2015. Funding under these programmes will be allocated on a competitive basis, with most funds awarded to regional projects offering the best prospects for job-creation
  • IDA Ireland will roll out a 5-year €150million capital investment programme to help attract more multinational jobs into each region. This programme will build on the recent investment by IDA in facilities in Athlone and Waterford, and will include investments over the coming years in building advance manufacturing and office facilities in Sligo, Tralee, Castlebar, Galway, Dundalk, Limerick, Athlone, Carlow and Waterford.

The Taoiseach said: "While recovery is under way, we cannot let it bypass families or communities on the basis of their location. Irish recovery is for all of Ireland. Today, the Government is publishing a €250 million plan to ensure that no part of Ireland is left behind in the jobs recovery. While every part of the country has seen an increase in jobs since 2012, we can and must do more. The Regional Action Plan for Jobs will maximise the individual strengths and assets of each region to support enterprise growth and job creation. The plan also includes up to €150 million for an IDA property investment programme to attract foreign direct investment into different parts of Ireland. All of these initiatives are part of the Government's strategy to rebuild a strong, enterprise economy that can support full employment."

The Tánaiste said: “Our economic recovery is well under way, with Dublin and other cities recording particularly strong growth in job creation. We want to spread that jobs recovery to every region and every community. Today we are committing to funding of €250 million to drive job creation across the different regions, through IDA and Enterprise Ireland. In addition, locally-driven Regional Enterprise strategies will help each region lean on its own unique strengths and assets to power regional economic growth, benefitting local businesses and families.”

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation said: “Over the past three years 80,000 extra jobs have been created across the country, with well over half of these jobs located outside Dublin. However many people have not yet felt the benefits, and some regions are experiencing faster jobs growth than others. That is why, as part of our plan to deliver sustainable full employment, we are putting in place this new strategy to accelerate jobs growth in towns and villages across the country.

“Part of this of course is ensuring that IDA has property solutions in place to help attract more investment to every region. However at the heart of the plan is a new approach – not top-down, but supporting agencies and organisations within each region to work together to build on the strengths that they already have to support extra job-creation in their areas. In this way we can ensure that communities across the country can feel the benefits of the jobs recovery that is underway”.


For further information:

Press Office, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation 01- 6312200 or

Government Press Office 01 619 4051/ 087 253 1675    


The Regional Action Plans will be developed for regions designated at NUTS III level:

  • South East: Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Wexford, Waterford
  • South West: Kerry and Cork
  • Mid West: Clare, North Tipperary, Limerick
  • West: Mayo, Roscommon, Galway
  • Midlands: Laois, Longford, Offaly, Westmeath
  • Border: Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Louth, Monaghan, Sligo
  • Mid East: Kildare, Meath, Wicklow
  • Dublin

The objective of the new initiative is to strengthen and develop job creation in the regions by encouraging local authorities, regional bodies, higher education institutions, other public bodies, the private sector and communities to come forward with innovative ideas to boost job creation in their area.   The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation will work with regions in identifying regional strengths, assets and areas of competitive advantage, as well as new approaches, in order to support businesses to start-up, succeed, expand, and export.   An Action Plan will then be developed for each region to help achieve its shared ambition and objectives.

This ‘bottom-up’ and competitive style of policy development and prioritisation will be facilitated by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through the establishment of a national Steering Group and through the appointment of senior executives in IDA and EI in each region who will help to facilitate the development of each region’s Plan. In addition, the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, through EI and IDA, will provide up to €250 million over five years to support regional enterprise development and the best initiatives in the regional Action Plans.


We will oversee the development in each region of an Action Plan by key stakeholders working collaboratively across the region. These plans and their implementation will be monitored and reviewed on an on-going basis. The Action Plans will be flexible and dynamic to allow additional actions and ideas to be added as they emerge. A Framework document has been published to explain the approach being adopted. The first of these plans will be published in the coming weeks for the Midlands and the Action Plans for all other regions will be published or in development by July.

It is the intention of the Minister that all regional plans will be published or in development by July. Each plan will typically include:

  • Regional commitments by Enterprise Ireland/IDA Ireland/Science Foundation Ireland
  • Commitments from Local Enterprise Offices
  • Commitments by Local Authorities
  • Commitments by Education and Training Boards/Higher Education Institutions
  • Other stakeholders – Fáilte Ireland, Údarás, Bord Bia, business representative bodies, etc.

Each Regional Plan will be developed in a similar way:

  1. Pre Consultation and Economic Analysis by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, which will oversee progress on the drafting of the Plans.
  2. Establishment of a Regional Team comprising the public bodies active in the region (e.g. LEOs, Local Authorities, HEIs, ETBs, etc.) to commence identification the region’s strengths and assets, as well as actions for delivery based on best practice.
  3. Regional Stakeholder meeting – workshop style with the Minister and CEOs of Enterprise Ireland and IDA in attendance - to seek to identify specific regional opportunities, new ideas, or gaps in enterprise capability.
  4. Intensive engagement with key regional stakeholders (public and private) to finalise actions and agree timeline for delivery.
  5. Agree and Publish the Action Plan.


The launch by Enterprise Ireland of a series of new competitive funding initiatives in the areas of entrepreneurship, innovation, enterprise infrastructure and job creation. The objective is to bring forward fresh collaborative initiatives to boost enterprise and job creation in the region. An initial fund of €50 million is to be made available for three competitive calls. The first of these competitive calls, with a budget of €5 million, will focus on community-driven enterprise initiatives and how all the local players, public and private, can work together to maximise job creation. A second call, also with a budget of €5 million, will focus on LEOs and how innovative new ideas or plans to support job creation in the region can receive additional funding. A third, broader, competitive regional call of up to €40 million will support significant projects or initiatives to improve or leverage identified enterprise capability in the region.

It is anticipated that a further sum of up to €50m could be made available, through Enterprise Ireland, over the lifetime of the Strategy to support other major new initiatives that can make a significant and lasting impact on indigenous enterprise development in the region.

It is envisaged that the fund will also attract some match funding from other regional public or private sources.   An initial tranche of funding will be made available over 2015/2016 to establish three competitive funding streams. In all cases tangible jobs impact, enterprise start up and scaling would be tests of application, and innovative collaborations among different agencies or stakeholders will be favourably weighted. The initial funding streams will include the following:

A. Community Enterprise Initiatives Fund

The call will be open to existing Community Enterprise Centres (CECs) and also to any other organisation or groups of organisations with innovative ideas to create jobs, promote entrepreneurship, boost innovation or enhance exports. It should be open to any credible and novel approach rather than simply replicating what has been done before.

Criteria in any such competition will be announced by Enterprise Ireland, but the typical criteria will include:

  • Promoting a culture of entrepreneurship locally and regionally
  • Developing capacity to start up and scale companies; filling gaps in enterprise facilities
  • Building on existing strengths or opportunities, eg. developing a sectoral opportunity where there is a competitive advantage (e.g. Drumshambo Food Hub)
  • Devising a credible plan to deliver added value in jobs and start-ups and increased level of exporting / potential exporters
  • Commitment of matching finance
  • Bringing originality in approach, objectives, leverage of other stakeholders
  • Leveraging off other enterprise support (Mentoring, funding, networks)
  • Promoting public and private partnership, e.g. alignment/collaboration with others players (e.g. LEO, ETB, HEIs, Chambers etc.)


B. Local Enterprise Development Fund

The terms of the call should look for innovative approaches to the delivery of the LEOs’ mandate and initiatives that bring performance to best practice. There should be favourable weighting for such criteria as:

  • Joint initiatives with other LEOs for delivery of service and for peer learning and mainstreaming of good practice.
  • Innovative ways of promoting enterprise and entrepreneurship, including co-funding arrangements where outreach or solutions might be delivered with other partners and leverage an impact beyond the LEO's own involvement.
  • Promoting entrepreneurship-led networks that enhance the support for start-ups.
  • Development of opportunities in new sectors such as creating new networks, collaborating across sectors or supply chains.
  • Initiative for measurable improvements in the impact of service delivery (e.g. take up of non-Leo schemes, etc.).


C. Competitive Regional Call

This will be designed to improve or leverage some particular identified enterprise capability in the region, for example:

  • To address a capability weakness in a group of companies in a region.
  • To support establishment or expansion of an accelerator in the region.
  • To establish or build a network.
  • To develop a regional brand.
  • To develop a hub (e.g. design, medical devices etc.).

It is anticipated that a further sum of up to €50m could be made available, through Enterprise Ireland, over the lifetime of the Strategy to support other major new initiatives that can make a significant and lasting impact on indigenous enterprise development in the region.



The roll out of a five year, €150 million, property investment programme by the IDA to attract foreign direct investment into the regions. This programme will build on the recent investment by the IDA in a number of advance manufacturing facilities in regional locations with three more to begin construction in 2015 at sites in Sligo, Castlebar and Tralee.

The full detail of the IDA regional investment plan will be announced as part of the launch of the new IDA Strategy.

IDA Ireland’s property portfolio is aligned to support the full spectrum of activities across the FDI and EI client base, is strategically important for further inward investment and enterprise development, and is categorised as follows.

New Building Programme: The advance availability of suitable buildings, both office and manufacturing units, is critical to securing investments into regional locations. The past success of IDA’s investments in previously secured advanced property solutions is evident in locations around the country.

The following are the headline investments within the new building programme:

Ongoing/2014                      2015                           2016                           2017

Athlone                                 Sligo                           Galway                       Athlone

Waterford                             Tralee                         Dundalk                     Carlow

                                                Castlebar                   Limerick                     Waterford


Utility Intensive Sites: These site solutions are large specialised Greenfield sites with heavy investments in utilities (i.e. water, waste water, gas, telecoms, etc.). These sites meet the particular requirements of large scale capital intensive projects such as advance manufacturing investments in the ICT, Life Sciences and Food sectors.

Business & Technology Parks (B&TP) – The availability of developed and managed high quality B&TPs is a key component for winning FDI. IDA B&TPs are master planned to deliver high quality serviced sites, i.e. road infrastructure, pathways and cycle-ways, landscaping which support a campus environment for IDA and EI clients to establish and grow their respective business alongside other similar types of companies.

The new IDA 5 Year Strategy is due to be published very shortly and has a particular focus on the challenge of increasing investments into regional locations outside the main urban areas. To help deliver an increase in projects to the regions IDA is planning a roll-out of €150 million of investments covering the three categories of property solution above. This regional investment programme is integral to the achievement of those higher ambitions for investments outside of Cork and Dublin.