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Ní Riada welcomes cross party support for her proposals on green growth supports for SME sector.

1 April, 2015 - by Liadh Ní Riada MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada received cross-party support on the European Parliament Budgets Committee for her Opinion on Green Growth opportunities for Small and Medium enterprises.

Ní Riada said:

“Green growth is a way of putting economic growth on a sustainable footing, while looking after our environment. Small and medium enterprises drive our economy and employ hundreds of thousands of workers, and we need to ensure they can benefit from green growth opportunities.

“I have secured widespread support for my proposals, which call for increased access to credit and funding for SMEs that wish to ‘green’ their operations or products, greater supports for community-based SMEs and social enterprises involved in renewable energy supply, and increased coordination between agencies, funds and programmes.

“I began a consultation process with the SME, social enterprise and green economy sectors early this year, and having heard from stakeholders, I understand that access to finance, and the absence of social welfare and tax benefit supports are huge worries for many entrepreneurs. We need to move towards a situation where enterprise, especially at a community level, is encouraged, facilitated and adequately supported.

“The Budgets Committee supported my inclusion of social enterprises, cooperatives and micro-enterprises in the document. Micro-enterprise is often a vital first-step for entrepreneurs, and for many families, particularly in rural areas, provides a much needed secondary source of income. It is important that they also be facilitated in benefitting from green growth opportunities.

“Social enterprises, commercial community initiatives and cooperatives are going from strength to strength in Munster and South Leinster, particularly in the areas of energy supply and food production. These enterprises, with their community-based ethos are well placed to not only benefit from, but actually drive green growth. I will continue to work with this growing sector and ensure they are included in future European initiatives.

“Sinn Féin are pro-growth, but we believe that economic growth must benefit the people, not the small elite that have benefitted in the past. Green growth presents an appropriate model for this kind of economic growth, and the EU has a role to ensure that SMEs and social enterprises can lead movements towards a sustainable and ecological recovery."

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