12 Nov 2018, 12.52

The Seanad Public Consultation Committee will consider how to improve the promotion, enhancement and success of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by consulting a wide range of stakeholders on Tuesday, Nov. 13, starting at 2:30 p.m.

The meeting follows the Committee’s invitation in June for the public to make written submissions on the issue. More than a dozen respondents have been asked to provide oral presentations and take questions from the Committee in three sessions scheduled to run until 7:30 p.m.

“The Committee will hear directly from owners of small and medium enterprises, as well as relevant organisations and industry experts, as we evaluate the key challenges facing SMEs,” said Senator Paul Coghlan, the Leas-Chathaoirleach and Committee Chairman.

“Issues of importance include access to finance, recruitment and retention of qualified staff, training and skills development, insurance premiums and other costs of doing business, and the adequacy of internet services,” Senator Coghlan said.

“The Committee aims to produce a report that distils the most important views of stakeholders, thought leaders and researchers and proposes a new national strategy for fostering and growing Irish SMEs,” said Senator Pádraig Ó Céidigh, the Rapporteur to the Committee.

“As part of our work,” Senator Ó Céidigh said, “the Committee will review the existing business environment, including the role of the Government, the EU and State agencies in supporting SMEs and the extent of finance currently provided by Irish financial institutions and credit unions to SMEs.”

Scheduled witnesses include

  • Michael D’Arcy, Minister of State at the Department of Finance
  • Netwatch Chief Executive David Walsh
  • Complete Laboratory Systems Chief Executive Evelyn O’Toole
  • Construction Industry Federation Director General Tom Parlon and President Dominic Doheny
  • Enterprise Ireland officials Kevin Sherry, Mark Christal and Rowena Dwyer
  • ISME Chief Executive Neil McDonnell
  • Professor Stephen Roper, director of the Enterprise Research Centre at Warwick Business School
  • Small Firms Association Director Sven Spollen-Behrens
  • Managing Director Rebecca Harrison of Fishers of Newtownmountkennedy Ltd.
  • IBEC Director of Policy and Public Affairs Fergal O’Brien and Head of Tax and Fiscal Policy Gerard Brady
  • Nevin Economic Research Institute Director Tom Healy
  • Western Development Commission Chief Executive Tomás Ó Síocháin
  • Údarás na Gaeltachta Chief Executive Micheál Ó hÉanaigh
  • Irish Rural Link Chief Executive Seamus Boland
  • Breanndán Casey, business development manager at The Mill Enterprise Hub in Drogheda
  • Officials from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation

The meeting in the Seanad Éireann Chamber can be viewed live here.

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Committee membership

Senators

Fianna Fáil

Fine Gael

Fine Gael

Fine Gael

Fianna Fáil

Sinn Féin

Independent

Independent