Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP for Ireland North West was speaking in the European Parliament in Strasbourg yesterday evening (24 October) on a key debate on the Small Business Act, the economic crisis and the impact on the SME sector.
 
Mr. Gallagher noted that “The SME sector is the central pillar of the Irish and European economy. In Ireland, approximately one quarter of a million SMEs employ over 800,000 people, contributing massively to tax income and PRSI. The SME sector provides sustainable and long term employment in many towns and villages throughout my North West Euro constituency.”
 
“The cost and availability of credit remains the single biggest obstacle facing the SME sector in Ireland. This despite, the taxpayer support received by the Irish banking sector. As a result, many viable businesses are struggling to maintain employment levels through the current recession.”
 
“In addition, red tape and bureaucracy continues to hinder the creation of jobs and must be addressed at a European and national level. President Barroso gave a commitment in his 2010 State of the Union address to the European Parliament to generate annual savings of € 38 billion for European companies by reducing red tape. Regrettably we are yet to see the effects.”
 
“The SME sector is the engine of the European economy, however, we must provide support by implementing polices to ensure an economic atmosphere conducive to investment and economic growth.”