The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has welcomed the Government’s renewed focus on job creation in the Action Plan for Jobs, but insisted that ‘significant and real progress’ would not be made until the collapse in domestic demand is addressed. Congress Chief Economist Paul Sweeney said the plan was a “small step in the right direction” and contained some worthy initiatives.“But small steps are insufficient – we need giant steps to address our jobs crisis. Ireland’s real economic problem is the lack of demand, especially domestic demand which has collapsed by a massive 26% in just five years, with the loss of almost 360,000 jobs.“Congress has published its own detailed and costed action plan for jobs*; this would see close to €10 billion invested in job creation over the course of three years, with huge dividends for the public purse.“This sort of investment could create up to 100,000 jobs and save the state billions. Given the depth of our crisis, these are the sort of measures that we need to focus on with unemployment close to 15% and ‘potential unemployment’ now at 25%, as per official statistics," he said. Sweeney said the Government’s initiative was welcome for the renewed focus it placed on job creation and also the emphasis on building indigenous firms rather than the over-dependence on foreign firms.He warned that the plan suffered from a view of state intervention and official regulation which pre-dated the crisis and contributed directly to the banking collapse and the current horse meat scandal.“Both here and Ireland and across Europe, officialdom seems incapable to learning the lessons of either the banking collapse or the horse  meat scandal – regulation and oversight are necessary to prevent the free market from corruption and collapse."