Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Niall Collins TD says the current funding allocated to enterprise agencies by the Government simply isn’t enough to protect Irish exporters and businesses from the threats posed by Brexit.
Deputy Collins has called for additional funding to be allocated to enterprise agencies in Budget 2018.
“Recently, my party welcomed the announcement of €6.7m in additional funding to Bord Bia for increased market access measures, vindicating the vocal campaign we spearheaded on the issue over the last number of months.
“However, enterprise agencies also clearly need additional funding to help exporters and businesses overcome the challenges associated with Brexit. We need to see an equivalent increase in funding for the likes of Enterprise Ireland, IDA and Intertrade Ireland.
“Since the Brexit referendum, my party colleagues and I have been calling for increased funding for state agencies to allow them assist Irish producers and businesses in reducing their current exposure to the UK by assisting them in entering into new markets.
“Budget 2017 allocated a measly €3m in additional funding to the Department of Enterprise and its agencies to assist in responding to the evolving challenges posed by Brexit. This additional allocation had to spread between agencies such as Enterprise Ireland, the IDA, Science Foundation Ireland and the Health and Safety Authority. The funding only allowed for 50 additional staff to be recruited between each of these agencies.
“While many of these positions have been filled, not enough is being done to put contingencies and awareness structures in place to safeguard Irish export businesses exposed to Brexit. This was revealed in a recent survey of 600 Enterprise Ireland client companies, which found that in the last six months, just 38% have taken measures to respond to Brexit, with 62% having taken no action to date.
“A significant increase in state agency supports and funding is clearly needed. Budget 2018 must deliver substantial increased funding for enterprise agencies under Minister Frances Fitzgerald’s Department,” concluded Deputy Collins.