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New jobs agency needed to rebalance Irish industrial strategy – Maurice Quinlivan TD & Imelda Munster TD

29 August, 2019 - by Imelda Munster TD, Maurice Quinlivan TD

Sinn Féin today published a new policy paper that they hope would begin a process of rebalancing Ireland’s industrial strategy by supporting and growing indigenous Irish businesses.

Sinn Féin are proposing to restructure the existing Local Enterprise Offices into one centrally led national agency, with an increase in funding, personnel and investment powers to help support and grow domestic enterprises.

Speaking at the launch of the document from Leinster House today, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Jobs, Workers’ Rights and Pay Equality, Maurice Quinlivan TD said;

“Sinn Féin are proposing to reorganise the current Local Enterprise Office structure into a larger centrally led national agency, with the scale and ambition to help grow indigenous Irish businesses.

“The purpose of this new jobs agency is to grow domestic Irish businesses, providing balance to our economy, our workforce and our public finances.

“The impact Brexit is already having on our economy can already be seen in the latest job’s figures from the CSO, with the unemployment rate revised upwards from 4.6% to 5.3%.

“With the prospect of a no-deal Brexit increasing, it is vital we strengthen our domestic economy now, so it can both withstand the impact of Brexit, but also continue to grow.

“A new jobs agency focused on our domestic businesses can help achieve this.

“Sinn Féin recognise the importance of FDI for Ireland, but we also recognise the risks an over-reliance on this sector alone brings.

“Currently 45% of the total corporation tax take in 2018 came from just 10 companies, while foreign owned multinationals paid 77% of 2018’s €10.4 billion corporation tax intake last year. That isn’t sustainable.

“While we are still supportive of maintaining foreign direct investment and export led growth as key pillars of our industrial strategy, it is imperative we grow our indigenous and co-operative sectors to provide balance to our economy and to our public finances. This new jobs agency can lead that change.

“In addition to providing business support to SME owners, this agency would encourage good pay and working conditions for employees and develop remote working hubs in derelict sites, to address the decline of many town centres, giving workers the option of working from their own communities if they wish."

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Business, Enterprise and Innovation Imelda Munster TD continued;

"The IDA and Enterprise Ireland already support FDI companies and exporters, but we want a new agency that will help micro businesses and shop owners on our main streets too.

“SMEs are the engine of the Irish economy, and they need to be treated as such.

“Regional Ireland cannot be left behind any longer when it comes to having high quality jobs, and this new organisation could deliver locations in regional Ireland for indigenous companies to locate to and develop remote working spaces helping to regenerate our town centres.

“The IEA would have an initial seed capital fund of €10 million, which it would use to take equity stakes in start-ups or existing businesses in exchange for investment.

“These investments could provide stability to businesses, protecting jobs, allow businesses to scale, and in return, profitable dividends would be returned to the IEA and to the state for further investment, in a similar way Enterprise Ireland does with exporting businesses.

“A company would also be expected to show all employees have good pay and fair working conditions, including no gender pay gap existing, to be eligible for any state financial support from the agency.”

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