Self-employed have fewer staff now, Creighton claims

Taoiseach says environment has improved and entrepreneurs winning in more markets


Self-employed people in Ireland are employing fewer people now than they did in 2012 or 2013, according to Renua Ireland leader Lucinda Creighton.

During terse Dáil exchanges between the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, and his former minister of state over the Government’s job creation policy, Ms Creighton claimed the Taoiseach’s “notion that indigenous Irish businesses are creating jobs for others is a fallacy”.

She alleged that while Mr Kenny kept mentioning entrepreneurship and job creation “it is clear you do not actually understand them”.

But Mr Kenny rejected her claims that the Government did not understand. “I beg to differ, with respect,” he told her.

He said they had spoken with new entrepreneurs who were able to win new markets abroad and were undertaking research. He also insisted there was evidence of an improving environment because of the reduction in unemployment from 15 per cent to under 10 per cent.

In sharply worded criticism, the Renua Ireland leader claimed “the only thing of substance the Government has done to try to direct the flow of capital in the economy in the past four years is to create a tax holiday for investors in the property sector”.

‘Statistical fact’

“The number of self-employed people who are actually employing others has actually dropped,” she said.

She asked if the Taoiseach would change Ireland’s approach to capital gains tax and incentivise “real job creation and not just roll out the red carpet for FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) companies, which we know account for less than 15 per cent of jobs across the economy”.

She called for concrete measures to deliver a “genuinely entrepreneurial economy” so that people who wanted to come home to create businesses and jobs “can do so and will not be penalised and punished for it”.

Or, she asked, “are you going to continue burying your head in the sand, clapping yourself on the back and doing nothing about it”.

Drop in unemployment