Taoiseach Brian Cowen

TAOISEACH Brian Cowen yesterday strongly defended his government's record on jobs, insisting that long-term sustainable job creation could only come about by putting the public finances back in order, fixing the banking system and restoring competitiveness.

"The truth is that the purpose of our entire economic strategy is to sustain and generate jobs. Those who say we can save jobs while allowing financial institutions to fail are closing their eyes to the most basic necessities of a market economy like ours, that is built on international trade and sustained by the free flow of capital and commerce," Cowen told a Fianna Fáil conference in Athlone.