Enterprise Ireland to trim staff by 55 as State cuts bite

Several agencies struggling to adhere to caps

 Julie Sinnamon, chief executive of Enterprise Ireland. Ministerial briefing notes warned  the bulk of  cuts under the employment control framework would fall on the State agency

Julie Sinnamon, chief executive of Enterprise Ireland. Ministerial briefing notes warned the bulk of cuts under the employment control framework would fall on the State agency

 

Enterprise Ireland (EI), the State agency responsible for job creation among indigenous exporters, is seeking 55 voluntary redundancies and retirements from its staff.

The agency confirmed that it launched a voluntary “early leaving programme” for its staff last week, which will remain open for applications until early January.

The cuts come as several agencies operating under the aegis of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation struggle to adhere to headcount caps under the State’s employment control framework.

Following negotiations with the department, the agency has also received permission to hire 21 new staff for unspecified “specialist” positions, even as it lets go the 55 members of its existing staff.

The agency said it was not targeting any particular parts of the organisation for job cuts, and that the early leaver scheme is open to all parts of Enterprise Ireland.

Specialist positions

Alan Hobbs, Enterprise Ireland head of corporate communications, said the exits, together with the new hires, would “freshen up EI’s skills base”.

“The new roles will see a mixture of internal appointments, promotions, transfers, and, if the skills are not available from within the existing staff, we will hire from outside,” he said.

Voluntary redundancy

The payouts will be capped at two years’ salary.

In ministerial briefing notes prepared this summer in anticipation of a possible change arising from a Cabinet reshuffle, officials in the department warned that the State’s ability to deal with important economic issues was being “severely constrained” by staffing issues.

The notes warned that “there are significant pressure points developing across the department and [at] some downsized agencies”. They highlighted particular problems in employment rights bodies, the Companies Registration Office, and its intellectual property unit.

Pared back

Officials warned that the ability of the State’s enterprise infrastructure to deal “with new issues as they emerge” was being hampered.