Ó Muilleoir raises questions over DETI job creation strategy
Sinn Féin MLA Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has said evidence to the Assembly Enterprise Committee today by Intertrade Ireland CEO Thomas Hunter McGowan raises real questions around the job creation strategy of the Enterprise, Trade and Investment department.
“Intertrade Ireland has suffered a £300,000 cut from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment which has placed a question mark over its future programmes.
“According to Intertrade this was a unilateral cut by the Northern Minister not agreed with the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Minister in the South.
“A £300,000 cut from the North should trigger a £600,000 cut from the Irish Government under the two-to-one funding formula but for now Intertrade Ireland has dipped into its reserves to keep its programmes up and running and the Irish Government has not made a decision over its reciprocal cut.
“Given that 50 per cent of Intertrade Ireland’s work is with Northern companies, that it has helped create 3,000 jobs and spurred £1bn in cross-border trade, it’s crucial the current Minister Jonathan Bell finds a way to reverse this cut.
"At present, Intertrade is living off reserves and hoping the partner department in the South doesn’t reciprocate with its £600,000 budget reduction. However, should the agency lose almost £1m it would surely represent a tipping point in its future effectiveness and capability.
“I was dismayed that the Enterprise Minister didn’t bid for funds in the November monitoring round to offset the cut to Intertrade and have now written to both Minister Bell and Minister Bruton in the South asking them to commit to providing Intertrade with the financial support it needs to continue its excellent work."