More ambition needed if indigenous enterprise is to flourish

07 December 2022

Labour enterprise spokesperson Ged Nash TD has today (Wednesday, 7th December) said the government needs to show more ambition for indigenous enterprise if sustainable economic development and employment growth is to be sustained.

Commenting on the publication of the new White Paper on Enterprise 2022-2030 published today, Deputy Nash said:

“Labour has been calling for the development of a new industrial strategy for some time. From taxation to employment, our objectively successful FDI model has created a disproportionate reliance on large foreign multinationals for tax revenue and high-quality, well-paid and skilled jobs.

“For some time now, Labour has been highlighting this challenge and the need for a rethink on our national industrial strategy. We need a continued and relentless focus on FDI but we also need to help scale-up Irish enterprise, make Irish companies more export-driven and productive and address the relative under-investment on research and development and on innovation that see us lag behind competitor economies.

“Productivity in our mid-size enterprises is lower than that in analogous countries. This is acknowledged in the plan, as is the need to invest more in R&D. However, an increase in R&D overall expenditure to reach 2.5% of GNI* by 2030 is worryingly conservative as is the aim of increasing the number of High Potential Start-Ups (HPSU’s) by only a fifth over the next seven years.

“The White Paper was originally billed by the Tanaiste as the start of a real step-change in Ireland’s industrial policy and a pivot towards greater investment in and practical support for Irish enterprises who have the ambition to go global from Ireland.

“There are many good proposals in the plan and implementation across government will be key. Our real potential to develop good jobs and sustainable businesses in the renewable energy services and supply chain needs to be realised and it is very positive that IDA and Enterprise Ireland’s success will also be measured against our decarbonisation and climate action targets.”

“Taken in the round, the White Paper is in truth a set of proposals that are much more modest than we were conditioned to expect. It’s a plan that lacks the scale of ambition we need to see in a fast-changing and uncertain world where supply chains are moving closer to markets and where instability and the threat of deglobalisation presents a real risk to an open economy like Ireland’s.”

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