Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Research & Development James Lawless TD says a new report published by the Nevin Economic Research Institute raises serious questions regarding the Government’s research policies.

Deputy Lawless said, “It’s well acknowledged that investment in research has an enormous positive impact on the economy and wider society. However instead of prioritising investment in research in recent years, the Fine Gael led Government has instead decided to cut back on research budgets.

“The report published by the Nevin Economic Research Institute has found that Ireland simply isn’t investing enough in research and development. The report warns that this chronic underspend will have a detrimental long-term impact on Ireland’s economy.

“It’s truly shocking that the Government continues to under-invest in research and development considering the mounting evidence which highlights that such investment is key to securing long-term economic growth. In both 2014 and 2015 Ireland spent the least out of the 11 countries in its peer-group, spending just 64% of the average for these countries.

“Research and innovation funding will be crucial to Ireland’s long-term economic prosperity. This is important now more than ever considering the risks posed by Brexit. Ireland used to be known as a country where truly excellent ideas and innovations were born, but the successive cuts imposed by Fine Gael are damaging this hard won reputation.

“Fianna Fáil has repeatedly called for stronger research and innovation policy, and I will once again be raising my concerns in the Dáil in light of this report.”