Enterprise Ireland chief elated by creation of six net jobs in 2011

Fri, Feb 1, 2013, 00:00

The head of Enterprise Ireland has said he was elated when companies it supported created just six net jobs in 2011 despite the organisation having a budget of €336 million.

Frank Ryan told the Public Accounts Committee yesterday that job losses in indigenous export companies were at their lowest level for 10 years in 2011 and 2012. In 2011, Enterprise Ireland firms created 9,076 new jobs, but lost 9,070 jobs.

Discussing the body’s annual report for 2011 which was before the committee yesterday, Mr Ryan said indigenous companies, supported by Enterprise Ireland, had exported a record €15.2 billion worth of goods in 2011, but suffered as a result of the domestic economy.

On its knees

He told the committee that indigenous firms had to contend with a domestic side that was on its “knees”.

Sinn Féin TD Mary Lou McDonald said the net creation figures were “just farcical” even given the problems in the domestic economy. “I presume you are as underwhelmed as I am about them?”

Mr Ryan said he was elated because the collapse in the construction sector had devastated firms and accounted for more than half the job losses in Enterprise Ireland-supported firms between 2008 and 2010. The fact that 3,338 net jobs were created last year showed that the sector had turned the corner.

Irish-owned banks

Enterprise Ireland’s investment services manager Niall O’Donnellan told the committee the Irish-owned banks were “not fit for purpose” in relation to dealing with exporting Irish companies. Banks had a limited understanding of many of the growth sectors, most notably the medical technology and clean-technology sectors.

He said they had a limited understanding of providing finance for companies exporting to markets other than the UK.

Fine Gael TD Simon Harris said he never realised the banks were “so ill-equipped” to deal with export companies.