Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation Niall Collins has said that while the decision to finally review Enterprise 2025 is welcome, the delay has left Ireland Inc chasing its tail in terms of responding to the challenges brought about by the decision of the UK to leave the European Union.
“I have consistently argued in the Dáil, via parliamentary questions to Minister Mitchell O’Connor, and on the airwaves for a review of the State’s 10 year strategic enterprise policy – Enterprise 2025.
“The fact that is has taken 11 months for the Minister to agree to a review is disturbing. This should have, I would have thought, been one of the first decisions she made as Minister.
“The current document (published in November 2015) makes no allowances for the impact of Brexit on Ireland in relation to employment levels and business export targets.
“Our State’s enterprise strategy should be future proofed, in light of potential implications from Brexit, and strengthened to shield exposed Irish companies from the various trading scenarios that may emerge.
“Time and time again, the Minister has stuck her head in the sand and ignored successive ESRI and Department of Finance unemployment and export forecasts.
“Every report released pointed to the negative consequences of an emerging Hard Brexit situation and the catastrophic impact on employment, if trade barriers, returned.
“The evidence speaks for itself. The Enterprise Ireland CEO said recently that ‘the fact that the growth of exports to the UK has slowed suggests that the impact of Brexit on Irish companies has already started’.
“This follows quickly on the heels of confirmation that export growth to the UK slowed from 12% in 2015 to 2% in 2016.
“There are certain things that Government can and cannot control. This is one area where they have a role to play.
“Government needs to play a proactive role with business scenario planning, so Irish companies impacted by Brexit can take informed strategic and commercial decisions that allows them plan for future challenges.
“It’s regrettable that it took the Minister so long to do what is right, and what is necessary to protect Irish enterprise. We, in Fianna Fáil, have consistently requested this review. It must now be done in as speedily a manner as possible to ensure that exposed companies are not left exposed, and jobs put at risk.
“Brexit remains a once in a generation shock to the Irish economy. Delays in taking necessary decisions will only exacerbate the potential risks, and Fianna Fáil will not stop holding this government to account to ensure that they do their job,” concluded Collins.