Sinn Féin Enterprise Spokespersons, Phil Flanagan MLA and Peadar Tóibín TD have welcomed the announcement by EU Commissioner, Máire Geoghegan Quinn of the final round of calls for proposals under the €8.1 Billion EU 7th Framework Programme.
Phil Flanagan MLA spokesperson for Enterprise at the Assembly said;
“In the last round of funding from the 7th Framework Programme, proposals from the North drew down the EU average funding and a low level of investment by SME’s in Research and Development (R&D). It is imperative that if we are to meet the targets of £300 million as laid out in the Programme for Government we need to match our potential by ensuring that SME’s are equipped with all relevant information and assistance.
“We have partner universities and SME organisations in the South who it is essential that we collaborate with to ensure maximum benefits across the island from the 7th Framework. We need a comprehensive and co-ordinated all -Ireland approach to promote R&D if we are to realise our potential to draw down funds and to promote economic development across the island.”
Dáil Enterprise Spokesperson, Peadar Tóibín TD, endorsing the all-Ireland potential of the Programme funding said;
“Investment in Research and Development is a key driver of economic growth. Across the EU the target was set for 3% of GDP to go into Research and Development. The Department has recently confirmed that the 26 County state drew down just over half what is available and acknowledges that at current levels of investment it will miss the EU Target. This will lead to us falling even further behind other EU economies.
“Given the reduced funding for business support by the Labour/Fine Gael Coalition it is essential that we maximise the support from this EU programme. While this part of the island has drawn down funds there is room for greater improvement through fully developing an all-Ireland approach to these funding proposals.”