Almost 60 extra staff for Enterprise Ireland and IDA to deal with Brexit

Mary Mitchell O’Connor says €2.75m allocation made for extra staff ahead of UK exit

Almost 50 extra staff have been appointed to Enterprise Ireland and the IDA to deal with the challenges facing Ireland with Brexit, according to Minister for Jobs Mary Mitchell O’Connor has said.

She told Labour’s Alan Kelly there were nine additional staff in the IDA ad 39 in Enterprise Ireland, the agencies that encourage foreign direct investment and support Irish firms to export their goods.

The Minister said €2.75 million had been allocated for extra staff since Brexit was announced.

Before the UK referendum vote to leave the EU and the announcement of extra staff, Enterprise Ireland had the equivalent of 570 full-time staff, while the IDA had 268 staff in 259 full-time equivalent posts.

She added that Science Foundation Ireland had 47 staff in 46½ whole-time equivalent positions before the Brexit vote. Two “Brexit specific” posts were being created.

The Health and Safety Authority will also recruit two additional staff to its 167 current staff levels. The new appointees will deal with Brexit-specific issues.

Currency fluctuations

Fianna Fáil Cavan-Monaghan TD Brendan Smith renewed an appeal for the Government to introduce particular measures to assist companies impacted by currency fluctuations. He said this had been done in 2009 and there was a need for a particular focus on businesses in the border areas.

Ms Mitchell O’Connor assured him she was very conscious of the challenges these companies faced, adding that more than €1 billion of Enterprise Ireland client companies’ exports went to Northern Ireland.

She said the regional action plans for the north-east and north-west aimed to support the creation of 28,000 jobs across Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan, Monaghan and Louth by 2020.

Mr Smith said there were companies with six to 12 employees that had not sought Enterprise Ireland’s support or that of any other State agency in the past.

He said there should be a mechanism in place to be activated to support such companies when they experience immediate problems in their export markets.

The Minister said her department was establishing two initiatives to address cross-Border trade issues.