Allocation of a paltry additional €3 million is not good enough
Sinn Féin’s spokesperson for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Maurice Quinlivan TD, has expressed his deep concern that looming threats from Brexit are not treated with the urgency demanded within the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs launched this morning.
He said that the paltry additional €3 million allocated by the Government highlighted the reality that the government is sleepwalking through the challenge posed by Brexit.
Deputy Quinlivan said:
“Britain is racing towards a hard exit from the European Union, which has the potential to cause catastrophic damage to jobs in Ireland. It is beggars belief that, in their Action Plan for Jobs, the Government has included only an additional €3 million in funding to tackle challenges arising from Brexit.
“I attended a stakeholders meeting In Carrick-On-Shannon on Monday and it was crystal clear from contributions from business organisations, Unions, farmers and other stakeholders that the Government was simply not doing enough to address what could be the biggest challenge to this state in generations in terms of job losses and damage to the economy.
“A recently published report from the EU Committee of the House of Lords on the impact of Brexit noted that Dublin’s limited infrastructure and shortage of housing could deter financial firms from relocating there. I have repeatedly raised this issue with the Minister.
“It is very clear the question of infrastructure is of critical importance not just in relation to Dublin but to the rest of the country.
“For example, data from the Department of Finance’s own assessment found that the food and beverage and the manufacturing sectors are most at risk to the fallout from Brexit with potentially thousands of jobs lost in the Agri-food sector alone.
“Importantly, these sectors are primarily made up of Irish owned SME’s, who are significant regional employers with comparatively low profit margins.
“It is of critical importance that the Minister and her Department grasp the nettle when it comes to capital funding for infrastructure.
“Kevin O’Rourke, Professor of Economics at Oxford University, recently suggested that the Government should allocate €25 million to fund a market diversification and product innovation strategy to support Irish food and drink companies to try and replace UK exports to the EU to compensate for the hit caused by Brexit.
“That analysis provides an insight into how the paltry €3 million extra spend is nowhere near the level of funding needed to meet the challenge of Brexit.
“The Minister needs to accept that the issue of infrastructure is central to efforts to minimize the impact of Brexit, and unfortunately today’s announcement will do little to address that.”