Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment Louise O’Reilly TD has called on the government to ensure that smaller counties, and the Border, Midland and Western (BMW) region, get greater support from Enterprise Ireland after data revealed to her outlined that they need additional support.
Teachta O’Reilly said:
“Enterprise Ireland does great work as a strong advocate for policies that will benefit Irish exporters and acts as a major investor in Irish start-ups. They support business across the state that now employ some 220,613 people with 65 per cent of this employment located outside of Dublin.
“However, data revealed to me through a Parliamentary Question revealed that with the exception of additional funding to help businesses navigate the Covid crisis in 2020 and 2021, there has been very little increase in funding for the agency over the past five years.
“If Enterprise Ireland is to help grow microbusinesses, SMEs, and family businesses, then they have to be properly resourced and funded to do so.
“One of the predictable results of the failure to increase funding for Enterprise Ireland is that smaller counties, and the Border, Midland and Western (BMW) region, end up having fewer companies supported by the agency. The volume of funding businesses in these counties receive is much less than those in the east of the state.
“For instance, Offaly has only 63 supported companies, Laois 52, Sligo 74, and Leitrim 23. This then reflects the volume of funding issued to companies in these counties with Leitrim getting just €117,079 in funding in 2019, Sligo just €707,044, and so on.
“The solution does not lie in diverting existing funds to smaller counties and the BMW region, but in ensuring Enterprise Ireland receives greater funding so it can target businesses in these counties and help them start off, grow, and begin their exporting journey.
“I would encourage the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, to sit down with Minister Paschal Donohoe in advance of Budget 2022 and discuss additional funding for Enterprise Ireland and how smaller counties and the BMW region can get their fair share.”
The response to Teachta O’Reilly’s Parliamentary Question, containing two tables that show the number of Enterprise Ireland supported companies that are currently located within each county and the amount of funding that was expended by Enterprise Ireland in each county in the past five years and to date in 2021, can be read here.