Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 3 Dec 1998

Vol. 497 No. 7

Written Answers - Electronic Commerce.

Brendan Howlin


46 Mr. Howlin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the steps, if any, taken to assess the impact of the growth of e-commerce in the economy; and the steps, if any, she will take in its promotion. [26129/98]

The emergence and development of electronic commerce in the economy is being monitored and planned for in a strategic way by my Department and the development agencies. A significant body of policy research and analysis has been undertaken, by Forfás in particular. This work has focused on the development of the information society, the electronics industry and its impact on other sectors of the economy and the infrastructure required for the development of e-commerce in key areas of skills, telecommunications and the regulatory environment.

Electronic commerce is rapidly developing and I am keenly aware that it will be increasingly important to the competitiveness of all sectors of the economy and is likely to impact on the dynamics of competition in all markets. Over the last 18 months a number of key studies and actions were undertaken to assess the impact of its growth. I am committed, as is the Government, to ensuring that we put in place the infrastructure and policy framework required for home-based enterprises and the economy to secure the full benefits of e-commerce for wealth creation and employment growth.

The development agencies have been targeting new business and employment opportunities in the key information technologies sectors and the development of new IT enabled sectors such as call centres since the late 1980s and they continue to target projects in new and emerging e-commerce sectors.

As part of the establishment of Enterprise Ireland in July, I expanded the list of designated services sectors eligible for State assistance to explicitly include electronic commerce activities. I am confident that this will provide the development agencies with the policy framework and supports needed to assist enterprises that are or have the potential to develop competitive internationally-trading electronic commerce businesses.
The IDA has recently concluded an agreement on the establishment of the Citywest digital park. This investment is an excellent example of a joint public-private partnership. The park will have a modern state-of-the-art telecommunications infrastructure which will facilitate companies positioned in the e-commerce business area that require significant broadband facilities. This facility will be suitable for use by both indigenous and overseas companies. Plans are also progressing with a view to establishing a city centre digital park.