Business, Investment and Employment
Fantastic multinational and Irish companies
In terms of Investment and Employment, we are fortunate that in Fingal we have more than 5,500 great companies located here including international companies such as Abbott, Astellas, Bayer Siemens Bristol Myers Squibb, DHL, eBay, Evode, Fujitsu, Ingersoll Rand, Hertz, IBM, Kelloggs, PayPal, Stobart Air, and hundreds of great Irish companies such as Keelings, the DAA, Aer Lingus, Ryanair, CityJet, Dimpco, PARC, One4all, Dennigans, Country Crest, Michael Wright, and so many, many more all investing in Fingal and giving fantastic employment here. We greatly appreciate all the multinational and indigenous businesses set up here in Fingal, and we are proud of their achievements.
SELF-EMPLOYED & SMEs
SMEs badly treated
The Small and Medium Business (SME) sector is an essential group of investors and employers who have been treated so badly in recent budgets, and it is my determination to change that. They are the real engines of job creation on the ground, and they’re rooted in our communities, so we must cut the red tape, ease the financial burden, and give more incentives to them.
We will level the business playing field for SMEs
I have been very active in this area and have produced legislation that will level the playing pitch for SMEs, and give them a fair chance to access State and Local Government Contracts.
We in Fianna Fáil propose the following measures to strengthen our local economy, to level the welfare and tax playing fields and give local business the support it deserves. No one who is Self-Employed should be disadvantaged by having to pay more tax than others, or being deprived of tax credits that are due to others. That is not on.
Package of Measures we Propose for Business and Self-Employed
› Ending once for all the disparity between self-employed and the PAYE sector
› Increased PRSI benefits for self-employed
› Phase in social protection payments including Jobseeker’s Benefit and Illness Benefit to self-employed
› Improved access to credit for the SMEs
› New capital gains regime that encourages business start-ups
› Extension of the credit guarantee scheme
WOMEN IN BUSINESS
We in Fianna Fáil believe it is time to make a much more concerted effort to remove the most obvious barriers to having a lot more women in Irish business. Research shows that any initiatives targeting women in this area have been hugely successful and oversubscribed, but at the moment there simply isn’t enough support available for women. In fact we have the fourth lowest rate of female labour-force participation in the EU. Ireland is losing out badly on the huge potential there is for female-led start-up businesses and many more women in the workforce. We in Fianna Fáil propose very practical measures to promote entrepreneurship among women and boost female engagement in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math-related (STEM) careers.
Here are our proposals:
› Doubling of the Enterprise Ireland Competitive Start Fund targeting women entrepreneurs. The fund should be increased from €500,000 to €1million
› Reduction in the qualification period for maternity benefit. Female business owners currently need 52 weeks PRSI contributions to qualify for maternity benefit, and they must apply 12 weeks in advice. This should be reduced to 39 weeks contributions and 6 weeks’ notice.
› Childcare Incentives to ease the burden on women who run export driven companies. Under its High Potential Start-Up programme, Enterprise Ireland could fund half the cost of childcare for two years, as part of its overall support package for women business owners.
› A powerful and sustained campaign on STEM careers targeting women. A Government-led initiative highlighting the value and career benefits of studying Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths-related subjects. n
Choose Irish companies
Every single year the State tenders for over €8.5 billion worth of goods and services. Most European countries have introduced a social clause to allow the State to choose offers which may not be the lowest initial cost, but will have significant social and economic benefit to the region in the long-run in terms of job creation and business investment. Ireland’s failure to do this has undermined our SMEs and resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs.
Economic & Social Benefits
This is why I brought forward a new Bill with my colleagues according to which public bodies will be required to consider the economic, social and environmental well-being of bids for all public contracts. If we allow the status quo, where the price being offered is the only consideration, international companies will continue to beat smaller Irish businesses, to the detriment of our economy in the long run.
Support Irish business by law
I am delighted that the Public Services and Procurement (Social Value) Bill we championed, received the widespread support of the business community and the support of all sides in the Seanad. What it means is that the Social Value of a major State tender to us in Ireland, must be considered properly, before the contract is awarded. I will continue to work with Chambers Ireland, the Small Firms Association and ISME to ensure that this legislation becomes a reality. We have made great progress by getting it through second stage in the Seanad. Now it’s time to put it into a law. This is a very simple step that the Government can take to support our small Irish companies and create jobs in our communities.
Services must be provided for taxes paid
I am very much opposed to the present iniquitous Commercial Rates schemes, in which our local authorities add a council tax onto already struggling businesses, providing no service whatever for their excessive rates bill in return. Services must be provided by the Council for taxes paid- that is a basic rule of commercial equity.
Common Sense and Fair Play
The present rates tax is unjust and inequitable, and must be drastically reduced or abandoned. There must be a graduated rates holiday for all new businesses in Fingal, and there must be a graduated rates waiver for businesses who lack or have been deprived of the high footfall count of shopping centres. Common business sense and commercial fair play must be put back at the heart of all these decisions, and Fianna Fáil will be a strong ally of Fingal businesses in this regard. Business is the lifeblood of our county’s economy.
Delete subsequent Occupier Clause
Fianna Fáil also supports the deleting of the subsequent occupier clause, and believes this should be applied retrospectively, in order to encourage much greater take-up of vacant premises. n
Ten thousand Young People Unemployed in Fingal
We have the highest labour force participation rate in the country and one of the lowest unemployment rates, thankfully. That doesn’t mean we can in any way be complacent. Much more must be done for the 10,000 unemployed people in Fingal, and I am particularly troubled by our 28% Youth Unemployment rate. The new EU Youth Guarantee programme proposes that every unemployed young person must be offered a good-quality job, an apprenticeship, traineeship or a place in continued education.
JobBridge & Tús
And then there’s JobBridge and Tús. We have the largest share of 15-19 year olds unemployed in the EU, and I am greatly concerned that these official schemes are too slow in reaching down into the lives of our young people.
Forge a new public-private alliance for jobs
We could easily forge a much stronger public-private alliance and collaboration here in Fingal involving training, work-experience, education and apprenticeship with training allowances for our young people, and I am determined to build those alliances quickly and get employment results for our youth