The Government today published a Progress Report on the 2021 Economic Recovery Plan, which is helping to drive a jobs-rich recovery, and supporting the transition towards a decarbonised and digital economy.
The Plan is rooted in an overarching ambition of having 2.5 million people in work. It places a focus on more productive, innovative, resilient jobs, including in new areas of opportunity.
Since the Plan was launched in June 2021, and against a backdrop of recurring pandemic impacts over the course of that year, and now a new set of complex and inter-related challenges, exacerbated by the impacts of the war in Ukraine, Ireland has seen strong employment growth.
Employment levels have exceeded pre-pandemic levels, standing at 2,505,800 at the end of March, the highest level on record. This progress reflects the substantial level of Government supports during the pandemic, some of which were still in place at end-March. Encouragingly there has also been an increase in female employment and labour market participation.
This robust employment growth provides confidence that we can sustainably maintain our target of 2.5 million people in employment for the coming period, as reflected in the Department of Finance’s recent Stability Programme Update.
Ireland now faces a new set of challenges, including supply chain issues and inflation challenges exacerbated by the impact of the war in Ukraine. Indeed, international challenges have accelerated and highlighted many trends, shifts and risks across digitalisation, decarbonisation, global geo-political and trade developments, energy security, labour market and demographic changes. This makes robust implementation of the polices under the Plan all the more necessary.
Significant progress has also been made on policy deliverables under the Plan, with substantial initiatives guiding economic recovery and renewal, these include:
- Delivery of Pathways to Work 2021-2025, the overall framework for activation and employment support policy, which is being put into action;
- Climate Action Plan 2021, a far-reaching and radical plan setting out 475 separate actions to halve Ireland’s greenhouse emissions by 2030;
- Launch of Harnessing Digital - The Digital Ireland Framework, which sets out a pathway to support Ireland’s ambition to be a digital leader, at the heart of European and global digital developments.
- Renewed National Development Plan 2021-2030, the largest NDP ever delivered in the history of the State at €165 billion, a vital enabling mechanism for climate change, housing and broader infrastructure ambitions;
- Ireland’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan, which was submitted to the European Commission in May 2021 with a total value of just under €1 billion, was approved by the Commission in July, and Council of the European Union in September. Work on implementation is now underway;
- Corporation Tax agreement - Ireland has signed up to the OECD Inclusive Framework on BEPS on a new tax framework to address the tax challenges of digitalisation, providing long-term certainty for business and investors;
- Setting out the Government’s medium-term fiscal target in the 2021 Summer Economic Statement;
- Launch of Housing for All, with commencements of 32,456 in the 12 months to April 2022; and
- Impact 2030: Ireland's Research and Innovation Strategy, which aims to advance Ireland's research and innovation ecosystem and maximise the impact of R&I on our economy, society and environment.
In welcoming the progress achieved since the Plan’s publication in June, the Taoiseach noted:
“Despite the economic challenges presented by the pandemic, and now by the impacts of the war in Ukraine, this Progress Report highlights the significant progress we have made in our recovery – both in terms of employment but also policy outcomes.
“The Economic Recovery Plan is about supporting jobs and livelihoods, but also advancing a renewed and sustainable approach and ensuring a resilient economy able to withstand challenges and uncertainties.”
The Tánaiste further noted:
“This €4bn-plus stimulus for the Irish economy was designed to get people back to work, businesses back on their feet and open again, while also planning for the long term with investment in research and skills, the digital transformation, climate action and public transport.
“I said at the time that we were going for growth and backing business to recover lost ground quickly. With more people at work than ever before in the history of the state, we have bounced back quicker than planned. That is thanks to the incredible resilience and performance of thousands of Irish businesses, their staff, families and communities.
“The pandemic is not over of course, and we do have new challenges now with the war on Ukraine, inflation and the cost of living. I know many are still worried about an uncertain future. The Government is really conscious of these concerns and will continue to work hard to provide the right environment for economic prosperity and to prepare for the risks ahead.”
Notes to Editor:
The Economic Recovery Plan was launched in June 2021. Read the report here: https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/709d1-economic-recovery-plan/
It includes an overarching employment ambition of 2.5 million people in work by 2024. Overall employment levels recovered to exceed pre-pandemic levels during 2021, and stood at 2,505,800 in Q1 2022. However, it must be borne in mind that some COVID-19 supports were still in place at the end of Quarter 1.
The Plan included labour market and enterprise supports, and is fundamentally about the sustainable rebuilding and renewal of the Irish economy, aligned with the Government’s green and digital ambitions, across four Pillars:
- Helping people back into work, including through intense and comprehensive activation, and accelerated training, reskilling and upskilling opportunities;
- Re-building sustainable enterprises through targeted supports and by future-proofing enterprise to be more resilient, innovative, and productive;
- A balanced and inclusive recovery through strategic investment and reforms that enhance our long-term capacity for sustainable growth, balanced regional development, and focus on improving living standards; and
- Ensuring sustainable public finances.
These objectives are supported by investment including through Ireland’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan, the revised National Development Plan, and the Brexit Adjustment Reserve.
Progress against the objectives outlined across the four Pillars is detailed in the Progress Report. Implementation of the Economic Recovery Plan is progressed through the Cabinet Committee on Economic Recovery and Investment.