New national industrial policy framework long overdue says Nash

08 November 2022
  • Framework must pivot towards growth of exporting indigenous companies
  • Opposition parties must be briefed on tech job losses

Labour enterprise spokesperson Ged Nash has today warned that unless a new national industrial policy framework prioritised the scaling up of indigenous Irish enterprise, Ireland will continue to be exposed to a dangerous and excessive reliance on foreign direct investment for high value, high paying jobs.

Deputy Nash said:

“This is a really worrying time for jobs and for our economy. In the wake of Twitter’s outrageous actions last week it is clear that these job losses are just the beginning of the wave of redundancies across the tech sector over future months.

“We know the exposure that Ireland has to big tech. 7% of all Irish jobs are in the ICT sector, and that actually constitutes 12% of our income tax take as well. So significant is the tech sector for Ireland that both IDA and Enterprise Ireland should provide an urgent briefing to all opposition parties on what we can expect to be dealing with in the coming weeks and months.

“We know about Facebook and the threats there and the problems facing Twitter. There have been issues in the undergrowth over the last few months.

“In my own constituency we lost 100 jobs in recent weeks when a US payments-related firm upped sticks and closed its doors at the drop of a hat. This is unacceptable and shows how vulnerable we are to the global tech shock. The indications were that there was going to be a correction this year and that some of these tech firms were in fact overvalued.

“Some tech firms overshot the runway in terms of adding jobs over the last few years. However, the question for the IDA is; what is the scale of these job losses going to be? How prepared are they? What is IDA going to do to minimize those job losses?

“Given that the State has invested millions in some of these companies such as Stripe, the government has a particular onus to ensure that workers are not dumped and particularly those with less than two years’ service who have no legal entitlement to statutory redundancy.

“In recent years, the Labour Party has identified the need for the state to diversify our economy more generally. There is an excessive reliance on foreign direct investment for high value, high paying jobs. While we want to see Ireland remain an attractive location for FDI, the overall industrial policy approach needs to change.

“A new industrial strategy for Ireland must focus on adding value to our indigenous enterprise space and in helping Irish enterprises to scale-up, become more productive and be more export-orientated. As a country we need to get serious on developing a new national industrial policy that will continue to ensure that we can attract the kind of high quality foreign direct investment but also grow our indigenous enterprise base.”

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