Enterprise Ireland to take on role of county enterprise boards

Legislation is to be debated in the Dáil in the autumn

 Sinn Feins Trevor O Clochartaigh: EI management was questioned about the figures in its annual report by the Sinn Féin Senator at the committee hearing. Photograph: Alan Betson /The Irish Times

Sinn Feins Trevor O Clochartaigh: EI management was questioned about the figures in its annual report by the Sinn Féin Senator at the committee hearing. Photograph: Alan Betson /The Irish Times

Wed, Jul 24, 2013, 01:00


The Government is to publish the legislation to dissolve 35 country enterprise boards as part of Government reforms to support small businesses.

The agencies will transfer their powers to Enterprise Ireland (EI), according to the Bill to be published by the Government shortly. Under the new model, local authorities will deliver services on behalf of EI through new local enterprise offices (LEOs). The legislation is to be debated in the Dáil in the autumn.

The County Enterprise Boards (Dissolution) Bill is aimed at streamlining support for micro- and small businesses, currently provided by the county enterprise boards, EI and local authorities, into one network.

The announcement comes as EI management was questioned about its 2013 annual report by the Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation yesterday.

According to the report, EI client companies had record exports of €16.2 billion and created 3,338 net jobs in 2012.

However, the west of Ireland experienced the lowest level of job creation in the past year as net jobs created in the region, which includes counties Galway and Mayo, fell to 43 in 2012 compared with 394 in the previous year.

EI management was questioned about the figures in its annual report by Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh at the committee hearing.

EI chief executive Frank Ryan said that despite the lower jobs figures Galway has received a high proportion of grants from the agency.


‘High approval levels’
“Galway would have received €5.23 million of approvals, that’s the third highest in the State on a county basis,” Mr Ryan said.

“In 2011 it was over €5 million as well and again the third highest in the State. It has a great number of our client companies, particularly around medical devices and it is therefore the beneficiary of ongoing high approval levels.”

The largest number of jobs was created in the Dublin Mid-East region which added a net 1,510 new positions.

Incoming EI chairman Terence O’Rourke – who is a director of The Irish Times Ltd – also appeared at the Oireachtas committee yesterday.

Mr O’Rourke, who is the former managing partner of KPMG Ireland, will replace current chairman Hugh Cooney at the end of July.