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Enterprise 2025 an 11th Hour After Thought for Home Grown Business – Tóibín

12 November, 2015

In response to the Fine Gael and Labour launch of Enterprise 2025 Sinn Féin Enterprise Spokesperson Peadar Tóibín stated that Ireland has one of the most unbalanced enterprise structure in the EU with FDI dwarfing the domestic sector.

Deputy Tóibín said:

“Ireland’s unbalanced enterprise structure leaves Ireland extremely exposed and vulnerable to the changes in international taxation and competition. Indigenous enterprise has been the poor relation for the last 2 governments and now at the 11th hour we see the government publish a manifesto.    

“Ireland’s headline export figures while positive, mask significant structural dysfunction within the domestic export sector. Ireland’s exports are heavily lopsided with about 90% of the value of Ireland's tradeable exports are made by foreign-owned firms. This compares with 42% of Austrian goods exports and 36% of Danish goods. 85% of material inputs into operations of FDI firms are sourced from abroad. FDI still operates as an island within the Irish economy.

“The size of Irish firms is also skewed towards very small companies. According to Michael Hennigan of Finfacts and the OECD, Ireland has about 4,200 manufacturing firms with 130 large ones. This is the second lowest of the 34 countries just ahead of Luxembourg last. In 2012 Austria had 950 large firms (250+ employees) and 2,959 medium size exporters (50-249 employees); Denmark had 447 and 1,687.

“According to the Office for National Statistics Ireland is again at the bottom of the list with regards the number of exporting firms. Austria has 42,408 exporting firms, Denmark has 26,454 and Ireland has 4,200. Only 3% of Irish SMEs are active in manufacturing, whereas the equivalent figure for the EU is 10%. In the 10 years 2005-2014 total indigenous employment in exporting firms grew by only 2,000. 

“Since this government came to power four people have emigrated for every one job that has been created. In the last year alone 80,900 people left the state. The 86,000 people who are on publicly funded activation schemes but without jobs are not counted on the Live Register. There are 332,000 people on the Live Register. 110,000 people are part-time workers seeking more hours. Ireland has the second highest percentage of low-paying jobs in the OECD. By any measure we are still in the midst of an unemployment crisis. 

“Talk of investment to improve competitiveness is nonsense. This government have stated their intention to cut ‘Government Investment’ from 1.8% of GDP in 2015 to 1.5% in 2020 leaving Ireland second from the bottom the European Investment scale and stealing competitiveness from the future.”

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