The average Irish adult spends €116 per month online and 80% of the adult population shops online while business in the digital area grows ten times faster than the economy as a whole yet only 23 per cent of Irish companies do business online. To tackle this and more Minister Pat Rabbitte has announced the first phase of Ireland’s National Digital Strategy.
Minister Rabbitte said: “Governments tend to focus more on demand, why are 20 per cent of the population not online? Why are so many businesses not set up for ecommerce?
Today Minister Joan Burton and the Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore launched JobsPlus in Waterford. JobsPlus is a new employer incentive scheme which encourages and rewards employers who offer employment opportunities to the long-term unemployed.
Minister Burton said: “The JobsPlus scheme is replacing the Employer Job (PRSI) Exemption and Revenue Job Assit schemes. I listened to the views expressed by employers when I conducted employer road-shows last year and employers perceived the old schemes as being complicated and involving too much red tape.
Ballymun was selected as one of the first Youth Guarantee schemes to proceed in the EU following funding approval by the European Commission and the Government.
Speaking about the pilot scheme Minister Burton welcomed the scheme calling it ‘hugely significant’ in terms of increasing opportunities for young people in the area.
“My department is currently developing an action plan to implement the Guarantee in ireland from next year, and Ballymun can show the way in terms of developing the best practice and partnership to ensure that young people get the work, training and educational opportunities they need.”
Speaking in the Dáil during the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill the Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said 'at its heart, the core purpose of the Bill is very simple. It is about protecting women’s lives'.
"Some opponents of this Bill want to turn the clock back to 1983. To Ireland as it was then. They want an Ireland, where a woman’s right to life is not self-evident, but to be parsed and weighed by lawyers. An Ireland that would risk the life of a suicidal 14 year-old rape victim, as though suicide was not fatal.
The Action Plan is based around the six issues of cycling, sustainable development, youth and heritage, tourism, senior citizens and local government. Highlights include delivering a city-wide cycle network with routes along the coast and the canals; preventing the planning mistakes of the past; rolling out imaginative reading initiatives in schools and libraries; promoting sporting events such as Triathlons and Iron Man events; hosting events to promote awareness of elderly needs; ensuring that a directly-elected Mayor has real powers.
Lord Mayor Oisin Quinn said: The action plan that we are launching today is something the three of us are determined to implement. We will be working, not in isolation, but as a party in a position of strength with over forty councillors along with 16 Dublin Oireachtas members.
Dermot Looney, Cathaoirleach, South Dublin County Council said: Making Dublin a cycling city is something that I believe we can make serious progress on over the next year, but there will be little or no progress unless we get support from the Government.
Carrie Smyth, Cathaoirleach, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council said: Dublin has great potential to attract visitors and we need to do everything we can to unlock that potential.The development of sport and leisure activities are critical for ensuring healthier lifestyles for Dublins citizens. Triathlons and Iron Man events, for example, also present significant tourism and jobs potential.
This week the Dáil debated the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, the debate will continue next week and the week after. There is no guillotine in place so everyone who wishes to speak will get a chance to make a contribution. Over the next couple of weeks we'll post our Labour speakers here on the blog so do check back. In the accompanying video you can watch Deputy Ciara Conway's speech back and we've posted more videos below.
Minister Kathleen Lynch today announced the Magdalene redress fund, which will provide compensation for women who worked in the Magdalene laundries. This comes after the publication of the Quirke Report, which made recommendations for the best means of compensating the Magdalene women.