The leader of the Fianna Fail Group on Dublin City Council , Cllr Mary Fitzpatrick, speaking today to Dublin Chamber of Commerce, encouraged the business community in Dublin to position itself to take full advantage of the funding and support that is becoming available under the new €80 billion EU research, innovation and technology programme Horizon 2020.
Cllr Fitzpatrick said that while the academic community in Dublin had tapped into the funding stream available under Horizon 2020 the business side should be supported at all levels so that it can also take full advantage of the initiative.
“The competition across Europe for funding from Horizon 2020 will be intense but businesses in Dublin need to realise that with the right approach they can benefit”, Cllr Fitzpatrick said. “There are areas, for example, where Dublin would have a natural strategic advantage over other cities and I would urge the business community to look at these and other opportunities in the programme”.
Cllr Fitzpatrick, the Fianna Fail candidate for Dublin in the European election, said now more than ever there was a need for strong representation for the business sector in the European Parliament. Issues such as the protection of Ireland’s tax rates so as to encourage foreign direct investment and financing and lending to business, especially the hard pressed small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s), needed to be championed in the Parliament.
Cllr Fitzpatrick said another priority would be to keep the pressure on the Government to deliver the bank re-capitalisation deal promised in June 2012. The reality remains that Irish tax payers are still making annual payments of approximately €1.5 billion in interest on these loans.
“If we got the deal that was promised almost two years ago and the €1.5 billion annual interest charge we are all paying for was freed-up it would be a massive immediate stimulus for our beleaguered economy. If elected, I will be voting for a Commission President who is prepared to honour that deal so that the €1.5 billion yoke is taken off the Irish people and channelled instead into revitalising businesses, in particular, SME’s, creating jobs and improving vital services.”
Cllr Fitzpatrick added: “If elected I will be using my 20 years of international business experience and 10 years representing the people of Dublin on the City Council to champion the city at every opportunity and to prioritise economic recovery, employment, training and apprenticeship and education so that Dublin has the people with the skills and expertise needed to take full advantage of the upturn in the economy”.