“The Minister can wax lyrical all she wants about reduced unemployment figures, but when our competitiveness is being eroded, there are serious questions to be asked about the state of the Irish economy,” said the Fianna Fáil Business Spokesperson, Niall Collins.

Deputy Collins was commenting after an appearance by the Head of IBEC, Danny McCoy at a recent IBEC conference.

“Successive National Competitiveness Council reports have identified the growing lack of competitiveness in the economy as a major threat to future economic growth and development.

“Let’s call a spade a spade: our competitiveness is going down the drain and the Government isn’t doing anything about it.

“Yesterday, Mr McCoy said that ‘we are burning through our competitiveness in a way that is actually more severe than during the Celtic Tiger.’

“If this doesn’t spur the Minister on to forget the pre-prepared scripts that she is being asked to deliver on jobs and the economy, and start the work that needs to happen to make sure that Irish businesses don’t price themselves out of the global economy, I’m not sure what would.

“We are risking future and existing Foreign Direct Investment into this State, and crucially we are making it harder and harder for home-grown enterprises to compete at a global level.

“The facts are clear for anyone who wants to open their eyes to the reality of the situation facing Irish business.

“The World Economic Forum ranks Ireland 52nd in the world in terms of the quality of its infrastructure and the European Commission’s – 2018 Country Report on Ireland confirms the two tier recovery that Fianna Fáil has consistently critiqued with the Commission saying that ‘regional imbalances across the country remain in investment, economic growth, competitiveness and innovation.

“Add in the fact that most of the new jobs being created at present are both low income, and non-permanent, there is a softness in the economic recovery that allied to reducing competitiveness risks the social and economic progress that all of us want to see for our country.

“This competitiveness deficit affects ordinary people as when businesses have higher costs they are more often than not forced to pass them onto their customers.

“Minister Humphreys needs to impress upon her ministerial colleagues in finance, housing and childcare that unless the cost of business insurance is reduced, house price and rental costs stop surging and childcare becomes more affordable for working families, our competitiveness and attractiveness as a destination for FDI will nose dive, and jobs will be lost,” concluded Collins.