Today at the Oireachtas Jobs Committee, Enterprise Ireland presented its plans to replace the existing County Enterprise Boards with new Local Enterprise Offices as promised.
Speaking after the committee, Peadar Tóibín, Sinn Féin spokesperson for jobs, enterprise and innovation said:
“The reorganisation of County Enterprise Boards was first proposed by Batt O’Keeffe in the last government but today we learned that it will be next year before legislation is drafted to give effect to these proposals.
“This delay is leading to low morale, uncertainty and inertia within some CEBs and is impacting negatively on business. This delay during the biggest jobs crisis in generations is outrageous.
“I feel the establishment of LEOs is driven by a bureaucratic exercise centred around the needs of local authorities rather than small business. Local authorities are seen as a cost centre to small business and in general they do not have the enterprise ethos which is necessary in this broken economy.
“We are shocked that there are no representatives of small business involved in the development plans of this new process.
“We are shocked that there is still no national plan for entrepreneurship. I am concerned that the proposals will reduce the local focus of enterprise development and will lead to uneven enterprise development delivery as is seen currently with Enterprise Ireland.
The reorganisation of County Enterprise Boards is an opportunity to create a business development ecosystem which has the needs of SMEs at its centre.”