Enda Kenny, Richard Bruton, Eamon Gilmore took credit for almost 100 bogus jobs – in one announcement

Ex-taoiseach Enda Kenny, ex-jobs minister Richard Bruton and ex-tánaiste Eamon Gilmore took credit for almost 100 bogus jobs – which were to supposedly be delivered by a controversial, discontinued IDA scheme – in one 2013 announcement.

The Fine Gael-Labour government that came to power in 2011 and that would, three years later, run an ill-advised reelection campaign that implored voters to “keep the recovery going”, had intensified the post-crash austerity of the previous Fianna Fáil-led coalition. Announcements of jobs, which may or may not be delivered, became a feature of government’s PR campaign during these years of austerity.

With these particular jobs, RTÉ, Newstalk, the Irish Times and Silicon Republic were among the outlets that provided uncritical coverage of the jobs that never materialised.

Kenny claimed, to much media fanfare, that four US companies would create 83 jobs in counties Dublin and Cork. “I think it’s a good day all round, most particularly for the 83 people who will have the opportunity to work for these companies,” he told the Irish Times.

Not a single one of these jobs came to be.

Lots of credit. No jobs

The jobs were to be delivered through the Succeed in Ireland initiative, run by ConnectIreland and the IDA, which was scrapped in 2017 after the two bodies ended up in a legal dispute. Earlier this month The Ditch reported that the IDA, in an attempt to block the release of records concerning the scheme, argued that publishing job figures would harm the state’s interests. It was overruled by the  Information Commissioner.

"I am delighted to welcome these 83 new jobs in Cork and Dublin. I am particularly pleased that they have come through the Succeed in Ireland initiative in the Action Plan for Jobs”, said taoiseach Enda Kenny, announcing the jobs at the Global Irish Economic Forum in Dublin Castle on October 4, 2013.

Fifty-five of these jobs were to come from Washington-based marine engineering company Sound & Sea Technologies.

The company incorporated two Irish subsidiaries in 2013 – which were wound up in 2016 and 2019, without ever having employed a single person.

Boston-based corporate training company Improv Asylum was to set up its European headquarters in Dublin and create 12 jobs. It too incorporated an Irish limited company, IA Innovation, in 2013. Just more than two years later it applied to be voluntarily struck off the companies register. Again – no jobs were created.

Strategic Marketing Innovations, a technology consulting company based in Washington, DC was purportedly to create up to 10 jobs over 12 months. These jobs never materialised after the company’s Irish branch was deregistered after just six months. Six Cork-based jobs with New Jersey legal consultancy Bayne Law Group similarly weren’t created.

Enda Kenny had high praise for the IDA-backed Succeed in Ireland scheme.

“This (scheme) has brought a really new approach to foreign direct investment as it helps attract different types of companies that might have escaped the attention of Irish agencies,” said Kenny speaking at the Global Irish Economic Forum event in Dublin Castle held on 4 October, 2013.

Fine Gael enterprise minister Richard Bruton told attendees at the event that “today’s announcement is further evidence of the success of this scheme, and will bring much-needed employment to communities in Dublin and Cork”.

It was tánaiste Eamon Gilmore who, according to the Irish Examiner, “let slip the jobs as part of his opening speech this morning, ahead of the official announcement”.

ConnectIreland was to be paid €2,500 per job created under the scheme.

Records released to The Ditch under freedom of information however show that the company received no payments for the 83 unrealised jobs – despite promoting them on its website as an example of the success of the Succeed in Ireland initiative.

The Ditch editors

The Ditch editors