Seanad debates

Wednesday, 28 February 2024

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business


10:30 am

Photo of Maria ByrneMaria Byrne (Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I rise today to highlight the plight of small businesses. In the past day or two, we had the Habit coffee shop and retailers closing with the loss of 22 jobs. My real concern relates to small businesses and the hospitality sector. The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment needs to look at small retailers and hospitality enterprises as stand-alone concerns. Reports are showing - and I know from talking to those in industry - that bigger businesses such as engineering firms have not been affected but that smaller businesses have been affected by auto-enrolment, the increase in PRSI and the minimum wage increase. There have been so many increases implemented all at the one time, and in the leanest months of the year, namely, January and February. Many small businesses are looking at closing. Hospitality and small retailers are the backbone of society and our towns, villages and cities. We really need to look after these retailers because the difference between them and larger industry is that they have so many full-time and part-time employees, so there are increased costs for everybody. The Department needs to do something quickly before we lose more businesses. I hope the Leader will support writing to the Department. I have written to it already, but I would love if the Leader could support me in that regard.


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