News & Events

Minister Bruton launches North East/North West Action Plan for Jobs, part of €250million regional jobs strategy

Successful implementation of Plan for Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan, Monaghan and Louth would see creation of 28,000 extra jobs in the region

The Government will today (Monday) launch the North East/North West Action Plan for Jobs, aimed at delivering 10-15% employment growth in the region over the coming years.

The Plan is the sixth of 8 regional jobs plans to be published over the coming months, as part of a new €250million regional jobs strategy led by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD.

Since the national Action Plan for Jobs was launched in early 2012 more than 20,000 extra people are at work in the North East/North West (12% growth). During the years 2008-2011, 31,600 jobs were lost in the region. The plan launched today targets employment growth of 10-15% over and above today’s employment levels.

The North East/North West Plan covers counties Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan, Monaghan and Louth. Key sectors targeted as part of the plan include traditionally strong sectors for the region like agri-food, manufacturing/engineering and tourism, as well as areas targeted for future growth like digital payments, cleantech and creative services. Among the 152 actions in the plan to be delivered over the period 2015-2017 include:

  • Achieve an increase of at least 25% in the number of start-ups in the region, and a 25% improvement in the survival rate of new businesses.
  • Increase the number of IDA investments in the region by 30-40% up to 2019. This will result in a minimum of 61 additional projects for the North East/North West region by 2019. As part of this, IDA is delivering a range of property solutions including advance facilities in Letterkenny, Sligo and Dundalk
  • IDA will develop a value proposition for the North East/ North West aimed at securing potential “second site” investments from companies with large scale existing operations in Dublin.
  • The Local Enterprise Offices will disburse over €2.2million in grant funding, and provide training and mentoring support to over 1500 business-people per year
  • Create 300-500 extra jobs in Gaeltacht regions, supported by Udarás
  • Establish two Regional Skills Forums to ensure the flow of critical skills to enterprises in the region
  • A Regional Innovation Forum for the North East/North West region to help support more companies to innovate and engage in R&D
  • Manufacturing sector – new training programmes in precision engineering toolmaking; new Enterprise Ireland initiatives to support manufacturing companies to scale and export; pursue the establishment a Centre of Excellence for Toolmaking and Design
  • Food sector – new regional food innovation programmes, increase in number of participants on Food Academy Programme, extra food hubs in the region building on the successful projects already in place
  • Tourism sector – a new Shannon-Erne Blueway, further development of initiatives around the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland’s Ancient East
  • Cleantech – explore the potential for a Renewable Energy Innovation Centre at Killybegs
  • Digital Payments – IDA and Enterprise Ireland to work with industry to progress a Digital Payments Cluster along the M1 corridor
  • Cross-border initiatives – develop new cross-border initiatives, including initiatives to increase drawdown of research and innovation funding`(targeted €16millon to benefit 1400 businesses), greater use of the border as an opportunity for companies to gain their first foothold in export markets.
  • Implementation – a comprehensive implementation structure is being established to ensure delivery of the plan


The levels of employment growth actually achieved within that range will depend on factors including the level of support and collaboration within the local community for the Plan, and the level of collaboration between organisations in the region and the main Government bodies involved in the plan. Minister Bruton believes that based on all the evidence and the strong buy-in for the process up to this point it is realistic to target 28,000 additional jobs in the region by 2020.

Minister Bruton said: “Jobs are growing right across the country, but they are growing faster in some regions than in others. That is why we have put in place the €250million regional jobs strategy, to support regions to play to their strengths and accelerate jobs growth in every area. 

“The North East/North West is a region which had historic problems with unemployment, but over recent years thanks to the ingenuity of its workers and businesses it has performed extremely strongly. Since we launched the national Action Plan for Jobs in early 2012 over 20,000 extra people are at work in the region, making it the third fastest growing region in the country in employment terms. Jobs are growing particularly rapidly in exporting companies supported by my Department. However we can do more, and that is why we are putting in place this highly ambitious plan to dramatically accelerate job-creation in the region. 

“I am convinced that with the right support from Government through the North East/North West Plan, and by continuing the collaborative approach right across the region, we can deliver 28,000 extra jobs over the coming years. This would be 28,000 extra pay packets coming into communities and 25,000 lives back on track – a goal well worth fighting for”.

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Cavan/Monaghan TD Heather Humphreys said: “Since the Action Plan for Jobs was launched in 2012, unemployment levels in Cavan and Monaghan have dropped by about 30%. This new, targeted regional Action Plan will help to further drive job creation across the border region with a focus on boosting start-ups, increasing the level of IDA investment and providing better supports for local businesses. This plan will help to ensure that the economic recovery is felt right across this region as more and more people get back to work.” 

Minister of State for Business and Employment and Louth/East Meath TD Ged Nash said: “There is no doubt that this region suffered badly in the economic crash, with unemployment rising to 16.6%. However, due to the strength of this region’s enterprise base and the hard work of its people, it has delivered one of the strongest performances in the country in terms of jobs growth, with employment rising by 12% since the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs initiative was launched in 2012.” 

“Now we need to build on the recovery and this turnaround in economic fortunes to ensure there is further jobs growth and opportunities. I am particularly pleased to see the Digital Payments Cluster along the M1 Corridor included in this Action Plan, building on the success of companies such as PayPal, eBay, State Street, Vesta and Yapstone already established to act as a magnet to other indigenous and FDI companies in this sector.” 


For further information please contact Press Office, D/Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation ph. 6312200 or

Notes for Editors

The North East/North West Action Plan for Jobs

Employment in companies in the North East / North West region supported by Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland has increased by over 3,400 in the period 2011-2014 (a 13% increase). This is compared to nearly 5,000 job losses in EI / IDA supported companies in the North East/North West in the period 2008 - 2010 (a 16% decline). The North East / North West Action Plan for Jobs will seek to build on the progress that has been made.

Following the successful national Action Plan for Jobs model which has supported the creation of 100,000 additional jobs 21 months ahead of deadline, and in order to ensure that the Plan is delivered, a comprehensive implementation structure is being put in place. Deadlines and lead organisations are assigned in the case of each action, a “North East/North West Strategy Regional Implementation Committee” is being put in place, chaired by an industry figure, to drive implementation of this plan and identify new actions to be added over the lifetime of the plan. Progress Reports on implementation levels will be published every six months.