Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation Niall Collins TD has said that the latest National Competitiveness Council (NCC) Scorecard should force the Government to act on the severe competitiveness deficits in the Irish economy.

Deputy Collins commented: “Irish consumers are facing excessive prices for goods and services. According to the NCC’s 2017 Scorecard, Irish consumer prices remain over 25% above the EU average. These figures tie in with recent Eurostat data showing Ireland as the second most expensive country in the EU for consumer goods and services.

“The NCC earlier this year reported that Ireland “remains a relatively expensive location in which to live and do business with a price profile which can be described as “high cost, and rising slowly”’.

“The Consumer and Competition Protection Commission (CCPC) has been in situ since 2014, yet it is, I believe, under resourced to do the job that it needs to do to protect cosumers.

“The Tánaiste, and Minister for Jobs and Enterprise, Frances Fitzgerald must ensure that the Commission is adequately resourced in order to be an active and effective watchdog for Irish consumers.

“Like many other bodies, I am concerned at the skills shortages appearing in the economy, with the NCC citing evidence of higher than average job vacancy rates in many sectors. This tallies with research by the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs which reports directly to Minister Fitzgerald.

“It is vital that the Government takes on board the recommendations from successive NCC reports in order to cut consumer costs and address Ireland’s skills shortages.

“A proper implementation mechanism must be put in place to ensure the recommendations of the NCC are executed by government as opposed to gathering dusts on the shelf.

“Rising consumer costs, and skills shortages will damage Ireland’s ability to grow and prosper. The Tánaiste must start addressing these challenges,” concluded Collins.