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Enterprise and Innovation Ministry needs to be more than ribbon cutting and flashy job announcements Quinlivan

14 June, 2017 - by Maurice Quinlivan TD

Sinn Féin’s Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Maurice Quinlivan TD, has tonight called on the newly appointed Minister for Jobs Frances Fitzgerald to address the problems left unresolved by her predecessor Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor.

Speaking from Leinster House tonight, Teachta Quinlivan said;

“I want to firstly congratulate Frances Fitzgerald on being appointed the new Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and wish the former Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor all the best.

“The Ministry of Jobs should not be centred around ribbon cutting and flashy job announcements, but instead on creating jobs right across Ireland and helping SMEs navigate the challenges they face, particularly by Brexit.

“Our economy has grown substantially in the last few years, due to the incredible hard work of the Irish people and the sacrifices they have made over the past decade.

“The number of unemployed people has fallen substantially, which is great news, but many issues remain that the new Minister must now address.

“Brexit has presented unprecedented challenges for Irish SMEs and exporters, and much more needs to be done now to help these businesses prepare, survive and grow.

“A survey carried out by InterTradeIreland found that in Q1 of 2017, 98% of businesses had no plan for Brexit. In the same survey from Q3 2016, 97% were not prepared.

“This shows that the level of unpreparedness has actually increased over this time. InterTradeIreland is tasked with assisting companies engaged in cross-border trade, yet no extra staff has been allocated to ITI in 2017, despite their increased workload due to Brexit. This needs to be addressed.

“The spread of jobs created by multinationals must be more evenly distributed across Ireland. Figures compiled by my office, shows that in 2016 in Dublin there were 16 people to every 1 IDA job, whereas in Laois the figure is 1 IDA job to every 736 people.

“This disparity is far too wide and more needs to be done to encourage FDI companies to locate in areas outside the capital, providing opportunities for all.

“The issue of low pay is also an area Minister Fitzgerald must address. 35% of all workers in Ireland are earning below €400 per week, which is just not enough for people to make ends meet. The minimum wage currently stands at €9.25 per hour, despite a commitment by Fine Gael to increase this to €10.50 in the programme for government.

“Sinn Féin want a living wage of €11.50 introduced to allow workers have enough money to live on, not just get by on.

“CETA, the trade agreement between the EU and Canada, was agreed at the end of 2016, and is currently being provisionally applied, yet the Dáil has not been allowed debate or vote on its contents yet.

“I made numerous requests to the last Minister to facilitate a debate on the matter, which were all blatantly refused.

“The new Minister must immediately allow a debate, so Sinn Féin can highlight some of the serious concerns around the agreement’s constitutionality, and the impact on workers and SMEs it will have.

“I wish the Minister well in her post, and look forward to challenging her on these issues and more."

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