Government pushes back target year for full employment from 2018 to 2020

Unemployment currently stands at 8.9%, and the Taoiseach is aiming to decrease that to 6%

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The Government has formally abandoned its target to have full employment in Ireland by 2018.

It has now pushed the target back to the year 2020 - after admitting it is too difficult to get jobs for everyone within three years.

2020 was the original target, but the plan was brought forward after a Cabinet meeting at the start of the year.

Unemployment now stands at 8.9%, compared to over 15% at the start of 2012.

Enda Kenny has admitted getting to 6% - which he considers full employment - is harder than expected.

He says the revised target "is more realistic... It's important we set up that stall.

"The difficulties and challenges we faced this year were a continuation of the great difficulties for the last number of years. But now it's moving on very strongly," he added.

The Taoiseach also explained that it is harder to get from 10% to 6%, than it is to get from 15% to 10%.

Tánaiste Joan Burton added that it will be harder to maintain the downward trend because of the numbers who are coming back into the workforce from abroad.