Dáil Éireann - Volume 489 - 22 April, 1998

Ceisteanna—Questions. - Strategy Group on Employment and Unemployment.

4. Mr. J. Bruton asked the Taoiseach whether the interdepartmental strategy group on employment and unemployment meets regularly; and, if so, the position on the activities of the group. [8224/98]

The Taoiseach: The interdepartmental strategy group on employment and unemployment was established by the Government in October 1995. The primary role of the group is to monitor developments in the labour market, to facilitate co-operation between the relevant Departments and to contribute to the development of policy in that regard, especially with regard to long-term unemployment. This, however, is not done in isolation, and such policies are for development in consultation with the social partners, particularly under the Partnership 2000 monitoring arrangements.

The group consists of officials from the relevant Government Departments. It meets on average every six to eight weeks and has met on 26 occasions to date. Since October 1995, it has submitted five progress reports to the Government. It also submits reports on specific issues referred to it by the Government. In the recent past, the group has been closely involved in the preparation for the Luxembourg Employment Summit and of Ireland's national employment action plan, our follow-up to the summit.

The strategy group will also review the operation of employment programmes in the light of changing labour market conditions.