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Shocking level of understaffing at jobs agencies – Quinlivan

22 June, 2017 - by Maurice Quinlivan TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Maurice Quinlivan TD, today criticised the level of staffing at the main state jobs agencies, particularly in this post-Brexit era. Figures released to Deputy Quinlivan show that staffing levels at the three main jobs agencies have fallen significantly over the past decade. 

Speaking from Leinster House today, Teachta Quinlivan said;

“These figures released to me in response to a Parliamentary Question shows that, Enterprise Ireland have lost 273 staff since 2007, the IDA has 33 less staff than it did in 2008 and InterTradeIreland has its lowest level of staffing in the past decade, despite the huge challenges Brexit is posing for companies and jobs in the border region. 

“These figures are disgraceful. These are the agencies on the front line of assisting businesses in this post Brexit era, and they simply do not have the staffing to meet this challenge. 

“Enterprise Ireland is tasked with assisting businesses diversify their markets to reduce reliance on Britain, how can they do this effectively, in addition to their other work, while having their staff reduced by 32% over the past decade?

“A recent survey from InterTradeIreland shows that 98% of businesses have no plan in place to deal with Brexit. Having this level of unpreparedness for Brexit, one year on from the vote, is totally unacceptable. InterTradeIreland has only 33 current staff, 14 below 2011 levels and less staff than it had in 2016, despite the vote for Brexit. 

“In addition to the low levels of staffing, a large number of posts remained unfilled in these bodies. Enterprise Ireland has a huge number of current vacancies; 81, 45 based in Ireland and 36 based abroad. The IDA currently has 24 vacancies. 

“These agencies and their staff all do a fantastic job in creating employment and assisting businesses, but they can only do so much with what they are given.

“Sinn Féin put down an amended motion in the Dáil today, containing a call for more resources to be made available to Enterprise Ireland, the IDA and InterTradeIreland. This motion was defeated by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. 

“We will continue to press the Minister for more staffing and resources for these agencies to ensure that SMEs and exporters get the assistance they need in sustaining and growing their enterprises.” 

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