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Taoiseach opens National Economic Dialogue

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar addresses the National Economic Dialogue

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar today opened the National Economic Dialogue, which takes place in Dublin Castle today and tomorrow. 

The dialogue will be an opportunity to consider how to make best use of the available resources in the interests of all citizens. The aim is to foster discussion on how to best sustain and strengthen the recovery while taking account of the many competing economic and social priorities within the limited fiscal space. The dialogue is not intended to produce specific budget proposals or recommendations, but should assist participants in preparing their own pre-budget submissions. Representatives of community, voluntary and environmental groups as well as business, unions, research institutes and the academic community will be in attendance. There will be Oireachtas involvement as the members of the Select Committee on Budgetary Oversight will attend and participate in the event.

Speaking at the plenary session, the Taoiseach said: 

As the Budget approaches balance, we have some more scope to make decisions about investment in the future.

In particular, we can plan for the future of a country: with a growing economy, growing population and growing workforce.

Over two million people are working, and unemployment is now back to levels last seen in 2008. The Action Plan for Jobs target of 45,000 extra jobs this year is on course to be achieved. Similarly, more than 20,000 people will move from welfare to work.

With unemployment close to 6%, we can plan to increase participation in the workforce, and to increase skill levels and productivity across the economy. In fact, we need to act quickly.

So while this Dialogue will rightly focus on the difficult choices and trade-offs that arise in every Budgetary cycle, we can have that discussion with ambition for the Ireland we hope to see in five, ten or twenty years’ time.

Read the Taoiseach's speech here. 

Watch the live stream of the Dialogue here.