Written answers

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Job Losses

11:00 pm

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Question 132: To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the steps she proposes to take to ensure the restoration of confidence in the manufacturing sector with particular reference to stemming the flow of jobs to other EU and non-EU economies; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7525/09]

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Question 133: To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment her plans to replace manufacturing jobs lost to other economies; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7526/09]

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context

I propose to take Questions Nos. 132 and 133 together.

The Irish economy is now one of the most globalised in the world. As a consequence, the uncertainty created by the current international financial crisis has had a significant impact on our economy. Our comparative advantage will increasingly lie in the production of knowledge-intensive goods and services. With that in mind, a range of policies is being pursued to enhance competitiveness and improve the business environment for manufacturing.

Competition, both for investment and goods and services in the global economic environment that Irish business functions in, is keener than ever. Innovation, and the productivity gains that flow from it, are the new foundations for competitiveness. In order to sustain and grow the manufacturing sector, Irish based manufacturing enterprises will be encouraged and assisted to continue the progression to high value added sectors and activities, and continue to increase productivity through investments in human capital, technology and innovation. Our priority remains the creation of high quality, sustainable employment, driven by companies with higher profitability that are technologically advanced and prove a better fit with the competitive characteristics of our economy.

The "Report of the High Level Group on Manufacturing", launched in 2008, identified the focused actions needed by employers, employees and Government to respond to challenges and take advantage of opportunities to further develop the sector in Ireland. The report sets out a number of recommendations directed at key areas of innovation and productivity leading to transformational change, reskilling and management development for the innovative firm, and increasing awareness and take up of existing supports. The Social Partners agreed, as part of the review of "Towards 2016", that a Manufacturing Forum should be established, in line with the recommendations of the High Level Group on Manufacturing. This matter is currently being progressed by my Department in consultation with the Department of An Taoiseach and the Social Partners.

I am determined to maintain and improve our focus on developing indigenous industry, where we are working consistently and successfully to build Irish exports in world markets. The newly established Growth Fund is designed to assist Enterprise Ireland's small to medium sized clients achieve greater competitiveness by improving their export potential. This will be achieved by increasing gross output and productivity whilst also maintaining existing employment levels in clients throughout the country. I also recently announced Enterprise Ireland's "Going Global Fund" which is aimed specifically at locally traded companies that have successfully established businesses in Ireland and wish to explore opportunities to sell abroad.

In the area of foreign direct investment (FDI), Ireland still manages to punch above its weight when it comes to attracting overseas investment. While costs are higher, we have responded by positioning ourselves as a location for more advanced activities, with more qualified and better paying jobs. The pipeline of new business, for which IDA Ireland is competing, is strong and we remain confident that Ireland will manage to secure significant investment from key target sectors such as Pharmaceuticals, Biopharma, Medical Technologies and Information and Communications Technology.

The government is committed to ensuring that we continue to create an environment for enterprise that remains among the most favourable in the world and which will position us for long term economic growth through the adoption of this series of proactive policies and strategies that best serve the interests of the manufacturing sector.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Question 134: To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if she has studied the number of job losses in the services sector with a view to retention of such employment in the future; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7527/09]

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context

In 2008 there were 90,342 persons in permanent employment in Enterprise Agency-assisted International Traded and Financial Services firms; the attached Table shows the number of full-time jobs created and lost in similar sectoral firms between 2004 and 2008. As one of the most globalised economies in the world, the uncertainty created by the current international financial crisis has had a significant impact on the Irish economy. This has created strains in the labour market that reflect the present international economic downturn. Our comparative advantage will increasingly lie in the production of knowledge-intensive goods and services. With that in mind, a range of policies are being pursued to enhance competitiveness and improve the business environment for services.

We continue to be one of the world's leading service exporting countries. Over the next ten years, services will be one of the key drivers of Ireland's economic success and job creation. The report of the Services Strategy Group, "Catching the Wave: A Services Strategy for Ireland", sets out new policy proposals on how we can ensure the continued development and growth of Ireland's services sector and outlines how to maximise the future returns to the country from services activities in all enterprises, both current and potential. Three strategic aims for future services policy in Ireland are identified in the report:

Realising the opportunities to further grow and diversify Irish services exports;

Encouraging internationalisation, where Irish service enterprises establish operations in overseas markets;

Recognising the important role of Irish service enterprises that trade locally on the domestic market, and ensuring that these are efficient and productive.

Implementation of the recommendations of the Services Strategy Group — some of which are already being acted on by the Enterprise Agencies — will enable Irish service companies to exploit new and exciting opportunities, such as eLearning, business and financial services, professional and consultancy services and others.

I am determined to maintain and improve our focus on developing indigenous industry, where we are working consistently and successfully to build Irish exports in world markets. The newly established Growth Fund is designed to assist Enterprise Ireland's small to medium sized clients achieve greater competitiveness by improving their export potential. This will be achieved by increasing gross output and productivity whilst also maintaining existing employment levels in clients throughout all counties. I recently launched Enterprise Ireland's strategy for the internationalisation of Ireland's services sector, which aims to promote a significant increase in exports sales in this sector by 2015. I also announced Enterprise Ireland's "Going Global Fund" which is aimed specifically at locally traded companies that have successfully established businesses in Ireland and wish to explore opportunities to sell abroad.

We are fully committed to strengthening the competitiveness and productive capacity of the economy. Our priority remains the creation of high quality, sustainable employment, driven by companies with higher profitability that are technologically advanced and prove a better fit with the competitive characteristics of our economy. Towards that end we must ensure that we continue to create an environment for enterprise that remains among the most favourable in the world and which will position us for long term economic growth through the adoption of a series of proactive policies and strategies that best serve the interests of the services sectors.

Enterprise Agency-assisted Services sector firms
2004200520062,0072,008Total 04-08
Full-time Job Gains10,08610,54111,63912,12310,01654,405
Full-time Job losses-8,069-7,796-5,947-7,724-7,532-37,068

Comments

No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.