Report on EI shows ‘major flaws’ in jobs strategy - Fianna Fail

Unpublished document recommends cutting back on workload as key staff depart

Fianna Fail’s spokesman on Jobs and Enterprise Dara Calleary said he would seek an early meeting with Enterprise Ireland  and Minister for Enterprise Richard Bruton.

Fianna Fail’s spokesman on Jobs and Enterprise Dara Calleary said he would seek an early meeting with Enterprise Ireland and Minister for Enterprise Richard Bruton.

Sun, Oct 6, 2013, 19:21

Fianna Fail has accused the Government of having “major flaws” in its jobs strategy after a report on Enterprise Ireland’s current operations recommended cutting back on its workload.

The unpublished report, which was revealed by RTÉ, said the loss of key staff meant the agency was at significant risk of failing to deliver some of its key services to exporting companies.

One in four of the 740 staff at Enterprise Ireland have been switched into new roles with limited training or upskilling since a moratorium was imposed on public sector recruitment in 2009, RTÉ said.

A spokesman for Enterprise Ireland said the agency had been affected by the moratorium, like all State departments and agencies, and it was in ongoing discussions with its parent department on staffing requirements.

He said the agency had recently been given the go ahead to recruit an additional 20 people for its overseas offices and fill two senior management positions.

“ Like our clients we are constantly striving to do more with less and innovate with regard to the way we do business. Enterprise Ireland has always evolved to meet the needs of our clients by introducing new offers and services such as competitive start funds. This requires staff to take on new roles on an ongoing base to effectively respond to client needs,” he said.

Fianna Fail’s spokesman on Jobs and Enterprise Dara Calleary called for the report to be debated at the Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, and said he would write to the chairman to seek an early meeting with the agency and Minister for Enterprise Richard Bruton.

He described reports of the contents of the document as “extremely worrying”.

“The fact that Enterprise Ireland is looking at ways to reduce its current workload underlines the need for more resources and more of a focus on government on jobs and investment,” he said. “The loss of knowledge and experience at the agency is very serious and the need for up-skilling based on the media reports is compelling. We have been pointing out for some time the significant flaws in the Government’s jobs strategy and this appears to be confirmed in this report.”

He said the Government had not spent all the funding it had set aside for job creation under the Jobs Initiative.

“The simple fact of the matter is more resources need to be made available for the creation and investment agencies to enable existing companies to export and grow and for new businesses to get off the ground,” he said. “The Government needs to encourage this instead of standing in the way.”

Enterprise Ireland plays a major role in supporting companies in Ireland, responsible for thousands of jobs and billions of euro in exports from Ireland.