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Staffing Crisis leaves Enterprise Ireland exposed to Brexit – Gavan

8 November, 2016 - by Paul Gavan

In response to an inquiry by Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan on the Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation committee, Enterprise Ireland have released shocking statistics relating to a serious staffing crisis within the state body. 

Despite Brexit posing significant dangers to Irish business exports, Enterprise Ireland introduced a ‘Voluntary Leaving Programme’ in 2015 which saw a net 51 staff members “exit the organisation”. This follows a previous net loss of 119 staff members since 2010. This, in total, means the organisation has witnessed almost a 15% reduction in its overall staff compliment since 2010. Overall staff numbers for Enterprise Ireland have fallen from 828 in 2010, to 659 in October 2016. 

Senator Paul Gavan said:

“How exactly does cutting staff in such drastic measures help our state bodies prepare us for the threat of Brexit? What contingency plan did the government put in place for Brexit being passed? 

“It appears that not only did our government presume that Brexit would fail, but they’ve bet heavily on it, and surely they will need to backtrack on this staff reduction for the sake of supporting Irish businesses.

“Is the government taking Brexit seriously when they have been cutting staff year on year in our state body which is supposed to be developing our indigenous businesses?

“I’ve personally spoken to workers within Enterprise Ireland and they have told me of the loss of knowledge and experience that has occurred in recent years within the organisation, and the drop in morale amongst the employees. 

“Enterprise Ireland have told us that 29% of their clients did not expect the UK to exit and 47% say that they are still waiting before changing their business plan. More concerning still is that according to Intertrade Ireland, 97% of businesses in Ireland have no plan in place to deal with the consequences of the vote to ‘leave’, these clients will need help from Enterprise Ireland in the coming months, but with such cuts to staff, how long will they have to wait and will they be given the time and attention they require?

“I want to know what the governments thinking behind these cuts were. Why did they cut staff in 2015, when they understood Brexit was a possibility, and what have they done since the Brexit vote to rectify and re-invest in Enterprise Ireland? A significant staff deficit in Enterprise Ireland is the last thing we need at this time.”

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