Thursday, 12 October 2017
Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
30. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the position regarding the decision end the contract of a company (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42756/17]
The Succeed-in-Ireland initiative was operated by Connect Ireland on the basis of a contract with IDA Ireland that was originally agreed in March 2012. That original contract was due to expire on 26 March 2016. In advance of that date, however, Connect Ireland and the IDA jointly agreed to extend the term for a maximum period of one year.
The purpose of that one-year extension was very clear: to facilitate both parties in effecting an orderly wind down of the original agreement. That contract could not have been continued any further as the maximum number of extensions had already been granted and any further extension would have constituted a breach of public procurement law.
The Board of IDA Ireland subsequently considered the future of the initiative at a meeting in November 2016. It decided that the Agency would not re-tender for its continuation. A definitive decision was not taken, however, on the ultimate future of the Succeed-in-Ireland programme.
As was announced previously, my Department will be commissioning an independent review of the initiative. That review, which will be carried out after details of the initiative’s full and final costs are available, will equip us with a thorough understanding of the programme’s results and its contribution to employment generation in the State. We will then be in a position to make a determination on its long-term future.
Earlier this year, my Department launched a public consultation calling for observations on the draft terms of reference for that review. I am pleased that the consultation process elicited a large number of submissions (17) and that responses were received from a range of stakeholders, including public representatives and the general public.
I believe it is clearly in the interests of good governance that the review be undertaken before a decision is reached on the ultimate future of the programme. We need to fully understand how the initiative has functioned, its strong and weak points, and how we could potentially improve it for the future. This is in the interests of the taxpayer, of the State and ultimately of the programme itself.
I want to make absolutely clear that no decision has been taken with regard to the ultimate future of the Succeed-in-Ireland initiative and that the initiative is not necessarily ending. As I have already stated, a decision on its future will await the outcome of the comprehensive review. However, the review cannot proceed until the full and final costs of the programme are clear, which will necessitate the resolution of the dispute between Connect Ireland and IDA Ireland.