Quinlivan Expresses Concern at InterTrade Ireland Staffing Levels Amid 6 Year Low
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Maurice Quinlivan TD has expressed his concern at the levels of staffing in Ireland’s main jobs agencies, particularly in the midst of Brexit.
Speaking in the Dáil as he questioned the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise and Innovation, Frances Fitzgerald, Teachta Quinlivan said;
“InterTrade Ireland’s staff levels have dropped consistently over the past 6 years. They have now less staff (33) than they did last year (36), despite the Brexit vote and the increased workload that this has brought.
“A Freedom of Information response I received from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation outlined that ‘InterTrade Ireland already operates on a very tight budget, given the cuts imposed. They are just about able to carry out their legislative remit.’
“The latest quarterly survey from InterTrade Ireland for Q1 2017 shows that 98% of businesses have no plan in place to deal with Brexit, an increase from 97% with no plan in Q3 2016.
“The fact that the rate of unpreparedness has deteriorated in the past year when it should be dropping is very concerning.
“Enterprise Ireland has lost 273 members of staff in the past 10 years. How can this agency realistically prepare businesses exposed to Brexit in addition to all their usual work with their staff numbers depleted so much?
“Is the level of staffing and funding of these agencies affecting the preparation levels of businesses for Brexit?
“As a result of the Tory government’s disarray in Britain, the outcome of no deal on trade and tariffs is a possibility, and so we need to prepare our jobs agencies now, to take pre-emptive action to help businesses and exporters.
“There are over 1,933 categories of goods traded South to North, and 2,269 traded North to South, so businesses will need extensive help in navigating these obstacles, should worst come to worst and no deal is agreed.
“I’m calling on the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise and Innovation to re-examine the staffing levels at these agencies to ensure they are adequately resourced and staffed and can therefore provide all the assistance and preparation required.”