- Minister Mitchell O’Connor must not blindly accept decision -
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade, Darragh O’Brien TD has said that he is disappointed and concerned to learn that the European Commission’s Directorate General for Competition sees limited scope to introduce a revised temporary State Aid framework in light of Brexit.
Deputy O’Brien made his comments following a reply received from the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor to a parliamentary question he asked on this issue.
“As a result the decision of the United Kingdom to exit the European Union, Fianna Fáil has been calling for a review of State aid rules with a view to establishing a temporary framework to enable Irish businesses diversify and restructure.
“It is disappointing that Minister Mitchell O’Connor, and her Department, have not been able to convince the DG of the economic necessity of introducing revised State Aid rules in light of Brexit.
“While I understand that this is a complex area and that a large degree of uncertainty surrounds Brexit I am concerned that DG Competition sees limited scope to introduce a revised Temporary State Aid framework. This is not the answer that Ireland needs to hear.
“Minister Mitchell O’Connor needs to do more, and not just accept the decision of the Directorate General. Her job is to defend Ireland’s strategic interests, and it seems to me that she does not possess the skills needed to press home Ireland’s difficulties at a European level.
“Has the Minister formally requested the DG to consider introducing temporary changes to the State Aid rules? Is she planning on doing this?” asked O’Brien.
“These questions need to be answered, and answered quickly. Too many jobs are on the line, and our future economic prosperity is at risk. We cannot afford to wait on Minister Mitchell O’Connor to get her act together.
“Fianna Fáil has been in discussions with a variety of stakeholders, affected by Brexit, such as business and farming organisations, as well as trade unions. They have been consistently clear that the existing State Aid rules will not be sufficient in addressing the challenges facing the Irish economy, especially exporters, as a result of Brexit.
“It is imperative that the Government explores every mechanism available to offset the adverse consequences of Brexit and ensure that our businesses are insulated as much as possible from a situation which was not of their creation.
“The Government, and in particular Minister Mitchell O’Connor, have a duty in this regard and they must relay at every level and opportunity that Ireland stands to be disproportionally affected by Brexit more so than any other EU member state,” concluded O’Brien.