Fianna Fáil TD for Louth Seamus Kirk has said up to 25,000 jobs are at risk in the social enterprise sector as a result of the Government’s failure to appoint a Minister with responsibility for Social Enterprise.

Deputy Kirk made the comments after the Minister for Jobs and Enterprise Richard Bruton admitted in the Dáil that no Minister currently has responsibility for the social enterprise sector.

“In July 2013 Forfás issued a report which highlighted that up to 25,000 jobs could be created in the social enterprise sector and outlined a range of initiatives to achieve this target. In response to this report the Taoiseach tasked Minister Sean Sherlock with leading the effort across Government to develop the sector” said Deputy Kirk.

“However following the Government reshuffle last August Minister Sherlock was moved from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. As a result of this there currently is no Minister with responsibility for Social Enterprise.

“Minster for Jobs and Enterprise Richard Bruton admitted this in the Dáil when he stated his department has “no policy responsibility for the social enterprise sector. This lies with Minister Seán Sherlock who chairs the Interdepartmental Group on social enterprise. Unfortunately it is widely known that this interdepartmental group has not met since the Government reshuffle took place last August.

“We are approaching the twelve month mark since the Taoiseach reshuffled his cabinet. In the space of this year the social enterprise sector has been left abandoned with no Minister adequately engaging with the sector. This is putting much needed jobs on the line. Forfás have pointed out that, with no Minister tasked with developing the social enterprise sector, it will be simply impossible to achieve the 25,000 job creation target.

“The delay in appointing a Minister for social enterprise is clearly undermining job creation. I am calling on the Taoiseach to appoint a Minister to oversee the social enterprise sector without delay” said Deputy Kirk.