Programme for Government Priorities

Ceisteanna (296)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

296. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the status of the programme for partnership Government commitment to prioritise balanced regional development which will allow Ireland aim for an unemployment rate in each county that is within 1% of the State average by 2020, in tabular form. [50026/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Programme for a Partnership Government prioritised balanced regional development, targeting an unemployment rate in each county to be within one percent of the national average by 2020. County level unemployment rates are not available, hence data provided is at regional level.

As indicated in Table 1, between Q1 2015 and Q3 2019 there was an increase of 312,500 people in employment across the State, with employment increasing in all the eight regions in that period. 62% of jobs created and 195,600 people entering employment were outside Dublin.

Note that as of Q1 2018, the regional NUTS classifications have changed. The main changes at NUTS3 level are that South Tipperary has moved from the South East to the Mid-West NUTS3 region and Louth has moved from the Border to the Mid-East NUTS3 region. Thus, although there are only 2 counties have moved, the changes affected 4 of the 8 NUTS3 regions. The data has been back-cast to Q1 2012.

Table 1: Progress in employment by region from Q1 2015 to Q3 2019. Non-seasonally adjusted data.

Employed

Employed

Employed

Unemployed (,000)

Unemployed (,000)

Unemployment Rate (%)

Unemployment Rate (%)

Region

Q1 2015

Q3 2019

Change Q1 2015- Q3 2019

Q1 2015

Q3 2019

Q1 2015

Q3 2019

Border

169,500

176,700

7,200

15.9

10.1

8.6

5.4

Midland

108,100

131,400

23,300

18.9

7.2

14.9

5.3

West

180,300

219,800

39,500

25.7

11.4

12.6

5

Dublin

600,900

717,800

116,900

60.1

33.5

9.1

4.5

Mid-East

294,900

343,600

48,700

31.1

22.2

9.6

6.1

Mid-West

196,500

217,800

21,300

26.8

10.9

12

4.8

South-East

169,200

190,100

20,900

22.3

14.9

11.7

7.3

South-West

295,000

329,700

34,700

34.5

17.8

10.5

5.1

State

2,014,400

2,326,900

312,500

235.2

128

10.5

5.2

Employment increased in six of the eight regions over the twelve months between Q3 2018 and Q3 2019, Table 2. Over the year to Q3 2019 employment grew faster in the West (5.3 per cent), Mid-East (5 per cent) Midland (3.3 per cent), and Dublin (3.1 per cent) than in the State overall (2.4 per cent).

Table 2: Employment Performance by Region – Figures from Q3 2018 and Q3 2019; and Annual change from Q3 2018 – Q3 2019. Non-seasonally adjusted data.

Region

2018 Q3

2019 Q3

Annual Change Q3 2018 – Q3 2019, No

Annual Change Q3 2018 – Q3 2019, %

Border

178,300

176,700

-1,600

-0.9%

Midland

127,200

131,400

4,200

3.3%

West

208,700

219,800

11,100

5.3%

Dublin

696,200

717,800

21,600

3.1%

Mid-East

327,100

343,600

16,500

5.0%

Mid-West

215,300

217,800

2,500

1.2%

South-East

186,500

190,100

3,600

1.9%

South-West

333,900

329,700

-4,200

-1.3%

State

2,273,200

2,326,900

53,700

2.4%

Outside Dublin

1,577,000

1,609,100

32,100

2.0%

The deviations of the Q3 2019 regional unemployment rates from the State are presented in Table 3. The Q3 2019 regional unemployment rates are less than 1 per cent above the State average (5.2 per cent) for all regions with the exception of the South-East at 2.1 percent. The overall ‘outside Dublin’ unemployment rate is within 1 per cent of the national average.

Table 3: Unemployment Rate by regions and quarter, the changes from Q3 2018 to Q3 2019 (% points), and the deviation of the Q3 2019 regional unemployment rates from the state average. Non-seasonally adjusted data.

Region

Q3 2018

Q3 2019

Annual Change Q3 2018 to Q3 - 2019 (% Points)

Difference from State Average (% Points)

Border

5.10%

5.40%

0.3%

-0.2%

Midland

7.10%

5.30%

-1.8%

-0.1%

West

6.60%

5.00%

-1.6%

0.2%

Dublin

5.30%

4.50%

-0.8%

0.7%

Mid-East

5.80%

6.10%

0.3%

-0.9%

Mid-West

7.20%

4.80%

-2.4%

0.4%

South-East

8.60%

7.30%

-1.3%

-2.1%

South-West

4.90%

5.10%

0.2%

0.1%

State

6.00%

5.20%

-0.8%

-

Outside Dublin

6.24%

5.55%

-0.7%

-0.3%

A target to add 200,000 new jobs by 2020, including 135,000 outside of Dublin has been achieved. Regional Enterprise Plans are crucial in meeting this target. Three regions, Mid-East, West and Dublin, have exceeded the 2020 targets to have a further 10 to 15 per cent at work in each region by 2020 and ensure that the unemployment rate is within 1 percentage point of the State average.

In May 2017, my Department launched Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) with funding of up to €60m aimed at accelerating economic recovery in all regions of the country by delivering on the potential of local and regional enterprise strengths. This competitive fund supports significant collaborative and innovative regional initiatives to build on specific industry sectoral strengths and improve enterprise capability, thereby driving job creation. Focus is on creating quality jobs that are sustainable in the longer term in line with Future Jobs Ireland ambitions.

Work Permits Eligibility

Ceisteanna (297)

Joe Carey

Ceist:

297. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if the spouse or de facto partner of a person who holds a stamp 1 critical skills employment permit is entitled to work here; if the spouse is required to apply for a work permit prior to entering employment here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49876/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Since 6 March 2019, spouses and de facto partners of Critical Skills Employment Permit (CSEP) holders can access the Irish Labour Market without the need to obtain an employment permit. Spouses and de-facto partners of CSEP holders can now apply to Immigration Service Delivery in the Department of Justice & Equality for permission to reside in this State on Stamp 1G conditions which provides direct access to the Labour Market without the need to obtain an employment permit.

Prior to this change, spouses and de facto partners of CSEP holders were granted permission to reside in this State on Stamp 3 conditions. Where they also wanted to access the labour market, they needed to apply for a Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit (DPSEP) from my Department. |I and the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charles Flanagan, both accepted that the process was administratively cumbersome and had asked officials work together to effectively address the issue.

This change has streamlined existing processes and has resulted in a more attractive offering for both investors and international talent.

Further information on the new arrangements, and how to apply for them, are available from the Department of Justice and Equality's website at the following link - http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/revised-immigration-arrangements-for-the-spouses-and-de-facto-partners-of-critical-skills-employment-permit-holders.

Departmental Reports

Ceisteanna (298)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

298. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of external consultant reports commissioned by her Department in each year from March 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the cost of each report; the company involved; and the title and publication date by report in tabular form. [49897/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

My Department considers hiring external consultants in cases where there is not the necessary expertise to deliver the project in-house, in cases where an external assessment is deemed essential, or in cases where a project must be completed within a short time scale, and although the expertise or experience may be available in-house, performing the task would involve a prohibitive opportunity cost.

My Department complies with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform's guidelines for engagements of consultants by the civil service, having regard to public procurement guidelines.

Details of external consultant reports commissioned by my Department from March 2011 to date are set out in the attached tables contained in the following link.

External Consultant Reports

Jobs Data

Ceisteanna (299)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

299. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the regional job targets and unemployment rate projections under the programme for partnership Government for 2020 and Enterprise 2025, by year and region in tabular form; the latest CSO figures at hand relating to these targets; the monitoring and reporting mechanisms in place; the annual job targets for the 2020 to 2024 period nationally and regionally in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50024/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

At the peak of the economic boom in the 2000s, unemployment in the regions was never more than 1% above the national unemployment rate. During the economic crisis, unemployment was as much as 4.4 percentage points higher than the national average in some regions. In 2015, when Enterprise 2025 was published, this had ameliorated, with unemployment in any of the regions being not more that 3% above the national unemployment rate.

In Enterprise 2025, an ambitious target was set in 2015 for unemployment rates on a regional basis to be not more than 1 percentage point higher than the national rate by 2020.

In terms of regional employment performance, in Q1 of 2018, the regional NUTS classifications changed. The main changes at NUTS3 level are that South Tipperary has moved from the South East to the Mid-West NUTS3 region and Louth has moved from the Border to the Mid-East NUTS3 region. Thus, although only 2 counties have moved, the changes affected 4 of the 8 NUTS3 regions. The data has been back-cast to Q1 2012.

As indicated in Table 1 employment increased in all of the eight regions since publication of Enterprise 2025 in 2015.

Table 1: Progress in employment by region from Q1 2015 to Q3 2019. Non-seasonally adjusted data.

Employed

Unemployed (,000)

Unemployment Rate (%)

Region

Q1 2015

Q3 2019

Change Q1 2015- Q3 2019

Q1 2015

Q3 2019

Q1 2015

Q3 2019

Border

169,500

176,700

7,200

15.9

10.1

8.6

5.4

Midland

108,100

131,400

23,300

18.9

7.2

14.9

5.3

West

180,300

219,800

39,500

25.7

11.4

12.6

5

Dublin

600,900

717,800

116,900

60.1

33.5

9.1

4.5

Mid-East

294,900

343,600

48,700

31.1

22.2

9.6

6.1

Mid-West

196,500

217,800

21,300

26.8

10.9

12

4.8

South-East

169,200

190,100

20,900

22.3

14.9

11.7

7.3

South-West

295,000

329,700

34,700

34.5

17.8

10.5

5.1

State

2,014,400

2,326,900

312,500

235.2

128

10.5

5.2

In addition, as indicated in Table 2, the Q3 2019 regional unemployment rates are less than 1 per cent above the State average (5.2 per cent) for all regions with the exception of the South-East at 2.1 percent. The overall ‘outside Dublin’ unemployment rate is within 1 per cent of the national average.

Table 2: Unemployment Rate by regions and quarter, the changes from Q3 2018 to Q3 2019 (% points), and the deviation of the Q3 2019 regional unemployment rates from the state average. Non-seasonally adjusted data.

Region

Q3 2018

Q3 2019

Annual Change Q3 2018 to Q3 2019(% Points)

Difference from State Average (% Points)

Border

5.10%

5.40%

0.3%

-0.2%

Midland

7.10%

5.30%

-1.8%

-0.1%

West

6.60%

5.00%

-1.6%

0.2%

Dublin

5.30%

4.50%

-0.8%

0.7%

Mid-East

5.80%

6.10%

0.3%

-0.9%

Mid-West

7.20%

4.80%

-2.4%

0.4%

South-East

8.60%

7.30%

-1.3%

-2.1%

South-West

4.90%

5.10%

0.2%

0.1%

State

6.00%

5.20%

-0.8%

-

Outside Dublin

6.24%

5.55%

-0.7%

-0.3%

The Programme for a Partnership Government prioritised balanced regional development, targeting an unemployment rate in each county to be within one percent of the national average by 2020. County level unemployment rates are not available, hence data provided above is at regional level. A target to add 200,000 new jobs by 2020, including 135,000 outside of Dublin has been achieved.

Regional Enterprise Plans are crucial in meeting this target. A key objective of each of the plans is to have a further 10 to 15 per cent at work in each region by 2020, with the unemployment rate of each region within one percentage point of the national average. Three regions, Mid-East, West and Dublin, have now exceeded their 2020 targets. Focus is also on creating quality jobs that are sustainable in the longer term in line with Future Jobs Ireland ambitions.

In May 2017, my Department launched Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) with funding of up to €60m aimed at accelerating economic recovery in all regions of the country by delivering on the potential of local and regional enterprise strengths. This competitive fund supports significant collaborative and innovative regional initiatives to build on specific industry sectorial strengths and improve enterprise capability, thereby driving job creation.

In terms of 2020 targets, and beyond, the national unemployment rate for October 2019 was 4.8 per cent, down from 4.9 per cent in September. Future Jobs Ireland 2019 sets out a deliberate policy shift encourage quality and sustainable jobs. Skills availability and labour force development are now a key focus with targets focusing on labour force participation rates rather than unemployment rates. Future Jobs Ireland 2019 targets a substantial 3 percentage point increase in overall participation rates for people aged 25 to 69 years to 78% by 2025 with higher increases for females and older people.

Regional Enterprise Plans

Ceisteanna (300)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

300. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of members of each regional action plan implementation committee per region in tabular form; the gender breakdown; when each committee was first established; and the number of meetings to date. [50025/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Regional Enterprise Plans (REPs) initiative is a central pillar of the Government's ambition to create 200,000 new jobs by 2020, 135,000 of which are outside of Dublin. A key objective of each of the Plans is to have a further 10 to 15 per cent at work in each region by 2020, with the unemployment rate of each region not more than one percentage point above the national average.

The principle behind the Regional Enterprise Plans is collaboration between regional stakeholders on selected initiatives that can help to realise the region’s enterprise development potential. These stakeholders include: Local Authorities, the LEOs, the enterprise agencies, the Regional Skills Forum, tourism bodies, private sector ‘enterprise champions’, the Higher Education Institutes and others, who work together as part of a Steering Committee led by a chairperson drawn from the private sector. Steering Committees were first established under the Regional Action Plan for Jobs, and the structure has continued under the current Regional Enterprise Plans to 2020.

The role of the Steering Committees is to drive and monitor progress of each Regional Enterprise Plan. Committee meetings are a part in this role, however it is important to note that these meetings do not fully represent the work of Committee members, nor the full breadth of engagement with my Department.

For example, Committee members variously partake in structures such as working groups, sectorial teams, action-monitoring groups, among others. Each region may operate different structures to deliver their Enterprise Plan and this is largely at the discretion of the Committee and their Chairperson.

In September of this year, I met with the Chairpersons and representatives of each of the Regional Steering Committees to review progress on each the Regional Plans. I am pleased to say that implementation of the Plans is well underway in all regions.

The number of members on each Regional Enterprise Plan Steering Committee, the gender breakdown of these groups, the date each committee was first established, and the number of meetings to date are detailed below in tabular form.

Steering Committee

No. of Members

Male

Female

Committee established

Meetings to date

Dublin

34

22

12

19/09/2016

7

Mid-East

33

20

13

15/07/2016

4

Mid-West

32

20

12

09/03/2016

6

Midlands

35

25

10

02/03/2016

9

North-East

33

25

8

25/04/2016 **

7

North-West

37

30

7

25/04/2016 **

8

South-East

50

38

12

26/11/2015

11

South-West

38

21

17

08/03/2016

6

West

41

30

11

18/04/2016

6

**Denotes the date when a committee for the North East/North West was established. This committee was subsequently divided into North East (26/1/'17) and North West (3/2/'17)

Credit Guarantee Scheme Data

Ceisteanna (301)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

301. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the value of drawdowns issued under the credit guarantee scheme to date; the value of approvals to date; the detail of each drawdown by county and approval; the breakdown of drawdown and approvals by firm size of less than 10, 11 to 49, 50 to 249 and more than 250 employees in tabular form. [50033/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Credit Guarantee Scheme provides a State guarantee through my Department to accredited lenders (Allied Irish Banks, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank Ireland) of 80% on eligible loans or Performance Bonds to viable Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (“SMEs”). The Guarantee is paid by the State to the lender on the unrecovered outstanding principal balance on a Scheme Facility in the event of a borrower defaulting on the Scheme Facility repayments.

The purpose of the Scheme is to encourage additional lending to SMEs, not to substitute for conventional lending. SMEs are thus enabled to develop a positive track record with the lender with the objective of returning to standard commercial credit facilities in time.

Since the launch of the Scheme in October 2012 a total of €123,261,390 has been sanctioned by participating lenders, with an overall drawdown of €90,272,844 for the period up to the end of the third quarter of 2019, as reported by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland which administers the Credit Guarantee Scheme.

Table 1 below provides reported data up to the end of third quarter of 2019 on a county basis.

Table 1 – Sanction Amounts and Drawdowns on a County Basis

County

Sanctioned Amount (€)

Value of drawdowns (€)

Carlow

2,326,000

1,660,000

Cavan

0

0

Clare

2,218,250

1,542,000

Cork

11,258,000

8,358,000

Donegal

880,000

880,000

Dublin

53,928,262

41,184,700

Galway

6,248,500

3,848,500

Kerry

3,180,000

2,480,000

Kildare

6,954,500

5,384,500

Kilkenny

1,220,000

495,000

Laois

2,454,950

1,214,950

Leitrim

1,100,000

1,000,000

Limerick

10,333,594

7,534,594

Longford

0

0

Louth

2,117,000

1,802,000

Mayo

1,653,100

983,100

Meath

2,587,500

1,790,000

Monaghan

250,000

250,000

Offaly

1,076,500

946,500

Roscommon

680,000

680,000

Sligo

57,000

57,000

Tipperary

1,844,000

1,216,000

Unknown

1,967,000

0

Waterford

1,251,234

1,000,000

Westmeath

2,242,000

2,022,000

Wexford

1,716,000

1,516,000

Wicklow

3,718,000

2,428,000

Total

123,261,390

90,272,844

Note - in some cases the bank did not report the county and these are categorised as unknown

Data in respect of the size of the enterprise benefitting from the Scheme is only available for the period commencing from 1 July 2018 – the introduction of the revised scheme. Table 2 below provides this data for the period from 1st July 2018 up to the end of the third quarter of 2019, as reported by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland which administers the Credit Guarantee Scheme.

Table 2 – Sanction Amounts and Drawdowns by Enterprise Size

Employee Range

Sanctioned Amount (€)

Value of drawdowns (€)

Less than or equal to 10 employees

16,649,063

10,581,500

11 to 49 employees

11,668,234

9,619,500

50 to 249 employees

1,650,000

1,650,000

250 or greater employees

0

0

Unknown

80,000

0

Total

30,047,297

21,851,000

Note: In some cases the bank did not report the enterprise size and these are categorised as unknown

Brexit Supports

Ceisteanna (302)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

302. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the status of the uptake of the Brexit loan scheme; the number of applications that have been applied for and granted; the counties in which these businesses are located; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49753/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Brexit Loan Scheme was launched in March of 2018 and provides relatively short-term working capital, for terms of up to three years, to eligible businesses with up to 499 employees to help them innovate, change or adapt to mitigate their Brexit challenges. The €23 million Exchequer funding (€14 million from my Department and €9 million from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine) has been leveraged to provide a fund of up to €300 million over the lifetime of the scheme.

This scheme is open to eligible businesses from all regions of the country, including those in the Border counties, which are more likely to be exposed to Brexit-related impacts. Dublin aside, the most recent quarterly report indicates that the border region is the most active region in terms of eligibility applications for the scheme. The funding provided by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine ensures that 40% of the fund will be made available to food businesses, which operate in a sector identified as most exposed to potential difficulties arising from the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

As part of the application process for the Brexit Loan Scheme, applicants must demonstrate their exposure to Brexit. So far, the sectors most represented in these applications are manufacturing, wholesale and retail, and information and communication. As of 25 November, there have been 898 eligibility applications received, of which 810 have been approved and 214 loans progressed to sanction at bank level to a value of €46.68 million. It is noted also that 160 applications received relate to repeat/duplicate applications, as eligibility expires after six months.

The following table outlines the applications for the Brexit Loan Scheme on a per-county basis:

County

Total Number of BLS

Eligibility Applications

Total Number of Approved BLS Eligibility Applications

Carlow

17

17

Cavan

24

23

Clare

14

13

Cork

81

72

Donegal

51

45

Dublin

308

277

Galway

39

36

Kerry

22

20

Kildare

32

31

Kilkenny

8

7

Laois

12

10

Leitrim

3

2

Limerick

22

21

Longford

3

1

Louth

41

39

Mayo

13

12

Meath

42

37

Monaghan

29

25

Offaly

11

9

Roscommon

15

14

Sligo

12

11

Tipperary

22

18

Waterford

11

11

Westmeath

17

14

Wexford

17

15

Wicklow

43

40

Work Permits Data

Ceisteanna (303)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

303. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of work permits issued in 2018 and to date in 2019 by category of employment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50094/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Employment Permits Section of my Department informs me that the number of Employment Permits issued in 2018 and 2019 (at end November) by Economic Sector is as follows:

2018

2019

Total Permits issued

13,398

15,381*

by Economic Sector

A - Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing

964

1,606

B - Mining & Quarrying

9

17

C - All Other Manufacturing

172

177

C - Manufacture of Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals

219

266

C - Manufacture of Computers, Electronics

72

88

C - Manufacture of Food, Drink & Tobacco

157

132

C - Manufacture of Medical Devices

54

63

D - Electricity & Gas & Air Conditioning Supply

43

68

E - Water Supply - Sewerage Waste Management

7

20

F - Construction

78

376

G - Wholesale & Retail Trade

99

91

H - Transport & Storage

111

182

I - Accommodation & Food Services activities

471

614

J - Information & Communication Activities

4,458

4,860

K - Financial & insurance Activities

931

1,203

L - Real Estate Activities

9

4

M - All other Professional, Scientific & Technical

56

73

M - Professional, Scientific & Technical Activities

43

66

N - Administrative & Support Service Activities

17

21

O - Public Administration & Defence

3

4

P - Education

108

138

Q - Health & Social Work Activities

4,495

4,046

R - Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

174

246

S - Other Service activities

646

1,016

T - Domestic- Activities of Households as Employer

2

4

*End of November 2019

IDA Ireland Portfolio

Ceisteanna (304)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

304. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if she has discussed with IDA Ireland the need to develop proactive policies to ensure the best use of the properties it has in rural areas and in small and medium-sized towns nationally; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50095/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The availability of marketable serviced land and buildings in advance of demand remains a key element in the IDA's ability to compete for mobile foreign direct investment (FDI). Not only does such a supply of properties help the Agency to secure significant investments but it also allows projects to begin at an earlier date by diminishing difficulties associated with land acquisition, planning and construction.

I want to emphasise that IDA-owned sites are never left intentionally idle or vacant. In fact, the opposite is the case. The IDA is doing everything it possibly can to market these properties to investors and to convince them to locate there. The Agency actively brings regional locations and suitable sites to the attention of all its clients, whether it's for existing companies in Ireland that are looking to expand or first-time clients overseas.

While the IDA itself is focused on inward investment, the Agency manages its property portfolio for the benefit of both its own clients and those of Enterprise Ireland. The IDA’s property team, for example, works closely with Enterprise Ireland to support the needs of indigenous companies who may be seeking appropriate properties. There is also ongoing engagement between the two agencies about the property needs of their respective clients. This includes plans to develop campus style property solutions to support development and business to business collaborations.

More generally, we are achieving real results in deepening the spread of regional FDI. The IDA’s 2018 results bear out that assessment. Last year the Agency delivered 113 regional investments with 56% of net new jobs created outside Dublin. Moreover, the last four years have seen over 44,000 new FDI-driven jobs created outside the capital. We will continue to do our utmost to reinforce and strengthen these positive trends and to further job creation across the entirety of the country.

Departmental Funding

Ceisteanna (305)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

305. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the amount allocated to businesses and organisations in a town (details supplied) in each of the years 2011 to 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50241/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Since becoming Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, I have made jobs and enterprise in the regions one of my top priorities. My Department and enterprise agencies are playing a key role in supporting the creation of sustainable, quality jobs in the regions, including in Co. Westmeath.

The Local Enterprise Office (LEO) in Westmeath is the ‘first-stop-shop’ for providing advice and guidance, financial assistance and ‘soft’ supports in the form of training and mentoring to anyone wishing to start or grow a business in the area. I announced an extra €5 million in Budget 2019 to enable the LEOs, including LEO Westmeath, to support a broad range of indigenous micro-enterprises.

Along with local enterprise development groups, Enterprise Ireland (EI) has co-funded 164 Community Enterprise Centres (CECs) across the country with payments totalling €44 million. There is now a Community Enterprise Centre located in every county, including Co. Westmeath.

In 2018, 3,564 people were employed in EI supported companies in Co. Westmeath. Between 2016 and 2018, EI paid approximately €4 million to client companies based in Co. Westmeath.

In May 2017, I launched the Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF), rolled out by EI, with funding of up to €60m, designed to support the ambition, goals, and implementation of the Regional Action Plans for Jobs/Regional Enterprise Plans.

Under Call 1 of the fund, a project in Co. Westmeath, Irish Manufacturing Research (IMR) was approved funding. The project will develop in the region a significant and important research and development capability in the areas of Collaborative Robotics and Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality.

In addition, there are 21 IDA client companies in County Westmeath employing 3,466 people and since 2012 has witnessed a 44% increase in employment in overseas companies. The County has maintained a strong reputation as a successful home to firms from the Technology and Medical Devices sectors.

A table detailing the funding given by my Department’s Agencies to businesses and organisations in Co. Westmeath is included below.

Agency payments to client companies in Westmeath 2011 to 2018*

Agency

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

LEOs**

-

-

-

€634,289

€613,474

€745,218

€702,511

€1,022,122

EI

€1,353,503

€1,155,899

€1,483,606

€1,172,469

€1,454,031

€1,598,448

€1,187,314

€1,240,402

IDA

€1,443,232

€1,552,832

€272,624

€1,948,923

€2,513,508

€1,768,687

€2,078,588

€3,146,661

* Information on grant amounts for 2019 will not be available until they have been audited by Comptroller and Auditor General in the second quarter of 2020.

** LEOs launched in 2014, figures not available for the years prior to this.

Workplace Relations Commission

Ceisteanna (306)

James Browne

Ceist:

306. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if her attention has been drawn to a number of determinations by the Workplace Relations Commission which remain unresolved owing to a lack of compliance with court orders; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50258/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

If an Employer/Respondent fails to comply with a decision of an Adjudication Officer of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) within the prescribed time, an application may be made to the District Court in accordance with section 43 of the Workplace Relations Act 2015 for an Order directing the Respondent to carry out the decision. The application can be made by the following:

- The complainant concerned;

- The WRC;

- A Trade Union, with consent of the employee; or

- An excepted body of which the employee/complainant is a member.

Section 51 of the WRA 2015, further provides that failure to comply with an Order issued by the District Court in accordance with Section 43 is an offence and that a person guilty of that offence shall be liable, on summary conviction, to a Class A fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or both.

Where applications are made directly to the District Court by a complainant or a trade union or excepted body on behalf of a complainant, the WRC has no direct knowledge of the outcome in relation to compliance with the Order.

In terms of applications made to the District Court by the WRC, some 15 such cases have been initiated: payment has been confirmed on foot of 6 orders issued and 4 respondents have been convicted for failure to comply with a Court Order issued. The remaining cases are ongoing.

Legislative Measures

Ceisteanna (307)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

307. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of Bills sponsored by her Department that have been enacted since November 2013, in tabular form. [50312/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

A list of all legislation since November 2013 that my Department is responsible for is available on my Department's website at the following address:

https://dbei.gov.ie/en/Legislation

Regional Enterprise Plans

Ceisteanna (308)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

308. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the status of the regional enterprise plans; her views on the way in which this will impact County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50412/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

I launched the new Regional Enterprise Plan for the Mid-East region, which covers Kildare, Meath and Wicklow, on the 7th February in Naas. It is focused on four Strategic Objectives to: develop the screen content creation sector; develop a network of innovative co-working spaces; support the agrifood sector; and ensure the availability of skills and talent.

Each of the four Strategic Objectives includes actions in Co. Kildare as part of the Mid-East region, and the Local Authority in Co. Kildare is leading Strategic Objective 2 in relation to the development of a network of innovative co-working spaces in the Mid-East.

The Mid-East Regional Steering Committee, comprising representatives from the Local Authorities, the Enterprise Agencies, the LEOs, higher education institutes, ETBs and others, drives and monitors progress under the Regional Enterprise Plan, and is chaired by Mr Eamonn Sinnott, VP and General Manager, Intel Ireland.

In September of this year, I met with all of the Chairpersons and representatives of each of the nine Regional Steering Committees to review progress and I am pleased to say the implementation is well underway in all regions including the Mid-East.

The most recent CSO Labour Force Survey employment figures (Q3 2019) for the Mid-East region continue to show very good progress in employment levels since the initial Mid-East Regional Action Plan for Jobs. From Q1 2015 (baseline year) to Q3 2019, a total of 48,700 more people are in employment in the Mid- East, and unemployment has reduced over the same period from 9.6 percent to 6.1 percent.

My Department, together with other Government Departments, has put several funding streams in place to support regional development, and I am pleased that the Mid-East has been successful in a number of these funding initiatives. These include my Department’s Regional Enterprise Development Fund; the Rural and Urban Regeneration and Development Funds under Project Ireland 2040; and the Town and Village Renewal Scheme.

Under my Department's €60 million competitive Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF), the Mid-East region has secured total funding of over €3.4 million to date under the two completed Calls. One of these projects, the development of the Mid East Regional Innovation Think Space (MERITS) enterprise centre in Naas, involves an investment of just over €1.9 million from the REDF. In June of this year I launched a new €45 million third REDF Call it is my intention to announce the successful projects when the evaluation process has ended by the end of this year or shortly thereafter.

Guided by the Regional Enterprise Plan, Co. Kildare and the wider Mid-East region is well positioned to build on the successes to date and to continue to see the benefits and results of collaborative and innovative initiatives that can make a significant impact on enterprise development in the region.

Job Creation

Ceisteanna (309)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

309. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the extent to which job creation through enterprise and innovation continues notwithstanding competition by county; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50413/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Government has a new plan - Future Jobs Ireland - to ensure we are preparing now for the jobs of the future. While the economy is performing well with strong employment and wage growth, we cannot be complacent. In the past we took success for granted and failed to prepare for emerging challenges, trends and opportunities. It is my priority as Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation to see more jobs created in the regions. Regional development is a key priority for this Government and it is important that the value of collaboration and the work by the development agencies, which has yielded strong jobs results in recent years, must be complimented by a bottom-up approach in providing critical business supports and advice.

Enterprise Ireland’s results for 2018 show the progress that the Agency has been making in driving enterprise development at a national and regional level. Enterprise Ireland assisted client companies created 18,846 jobs in 2018 and 64% of the jobs created were outside Dublin with all regions recording increases in employment. There were 215,207 people employed by Enterprise Ireland client companies in 2018, the highest total employment in the history of the Agency. Table 1 following breaks down the number of people employed in Enterprise Ireland client companies in 2018 by county.

The IDA’s results for 2018 demonstrate the progress we have been making in encouraging regional investment. Last year, 56% of all new jobs created by the Agency’s overseas clients were in locations outside Dublin. Every region in the country saw FDI-driven job gains. There are now over 132,000 people employed in IDA client firms outside the capital, representing nearly 60% (58%) of IDA-supported employment. These are all promising figures and show how real strides have been made in boosting FDI-related job creation across Ireland. Table 2 following breaks down the number of people employed in IDA Ireland client companies in 2018 by county.

In 2018 the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) supported clients increased employment by 8,007 gross new jobs which resulted in 3,656 net jobs being created across the LEO client portfolio bring the total number employed to 36,666. Also, in 2018, the LEOs provided training to 34,907 participants. Of these, 3,944 participants took part in the LEO-run ‘Start Your Own Business’ programmes. Table 3 following breaks down the number of people employed in LEO supported enterprises in 2018 by county.

The Government will continue to do our utmost to reinforce and strengthen these positive trends and to further job creation across the entirety of the country.

Table 1

EI Jobs by County

2018

Carlow

3,221

Cavan

5,842

Clare

4,102

Cork

23,902

Donegal

3,818

Dublin

76,815

Galway

8,091

Kerry

4,727

Kildare

8,923

Kilkenny

4,549

Laois

1,527

Leitrim

607

Limerick

9,553

Longford

2,979

Louth

5,923

Mayo

4,692

Meath

7,135

Monaghan

5,626

Offaly

4,307

Roscommon

1,764

Sligo

1,916

Tipperary

5,921

Waterford

6,849

Westmeath

3,536

Wexford

4,674

Wicklow

4,208

Total

215,207

Table 2

IDA Jobs by County

2018

Cavan

1,096

Donegal

3,564

Leitrim

909

Louth

3,903

Monaghan

162

Sligo

2,251

Dublin

96,760

Kildare

8,838

Meath

1,632

Wicklow

2,618

Laois

122

Longford

900

Offaly

1,232

Westmeath

3,466

Clare

6,948

Limerick

11,796

Carlow

1,150

Kilkenny

711

Tipperary

3,720

Waterford

7,064

Wexford

3,139

Cork

38,867

Kerry

2,241

Galway

19,969

Mayo

4,828

Roscommon

1,171

Total

229,057

Table 3

LEO Jobs by County

2018

Carlow

1,153

Cavan

1,374

Clare

1,270

Cork city

810

Cork South

1,393

Cork West/North

957

Donegal

1,294

Dublin City

1,736

Dublin DLR

1,695

Dublin Fingal

1,031

Dublin South

1,491

Galway County/City

1,116

Kerry

1,295

Kildare

1,239

Kilkenny

1,257

Laois

635

Leitrim

437

Limerick

1,926

Longford

1,195

Louth

982

Mayo

1,224

Meath

1,255

Monaghan

1,164

Offaly

1,063

Roscommon

857

Sligo

920

Tipperary

1,295

Waterford

1,447

Westmeath

1,172

Wexford

1,308

Wicklow

675

Total

36,666

Work Permits Eligibility

Ceisteanna (310)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

310. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the extent to which she can assist companies and sole traders seeking to employ persons from outside the EU; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50414/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation administers the Employment Permits legislation and criteria for the granting of employment permit permissions to work in the State. The employment of all non-EEA nationals in the State is governed by the Employment Permits Acts 2003 – 2014 which provide for the grant of different types of employment permits for different employment scenarios. Employment permits are granted to allow non-EEA nationals to take up a specific employment. A non-EEA national who is in the State on the basis of another type of permission granted by the Minister for Justice and Equality (for example, as a student) may also be eligible to apply for an employment permit to fill a specific vacancy.

Applications for employment permits may be submitted online via the Employment Permits Online System which also provides intuitive advice and information on the eligibility requirements and relevant criteria. A suite of information is also provided on my Department’s website with advice on the different types of permits, remuneration and other eligibility criteria, employer checklists and an FAQ document which answers the majority of the most common questions, all of which are available through this link - https://dbei.gov.ie/en/What-We-Do/Workplace-and-Skills/Employment-Permits/.

Job Creation

Ceisteanna (311)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

311. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the degree to which she continues to encourage and foster job opportunities throughout the regions with particular reference to the need to ensure an even spread of employment opportunities nationally; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50415/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Since becoming Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, I have made jobs and enterprise in the regions my top priority. I want to have a situation where all regions are enabled to realise their potential as contributors to economic recovery and growth.

Since Q1 2015, when the Regional Action Plans for Jobs (RAPJs) commenced there has been an increase of 312,500 people in employment across the State as at Q3 2019, with an additional 195,600 people living in the regions outside of Co. Dublin entering employment in that period. That is over 62% - or almost 3 out of every 5 jobs created.

During February and March this year, I launched nine new Regional Enterprise Plans to 2020. The principle behind the Regional Enterprise Plans is collaboration between regional stakeholders on initiatives that can help to realise the region’s enterprise development potential. These stakeholders include: Local Authorities, the LEOs, the enterprise agencies, the Regional Skills Forum, tourism bodies, private sector ‘enterprise champions’, the Higher Education Institutes and others.

These Plans continue the focus on delivering a 10 to 15 per cent employment uplift in each region by 2020 (from Q1 2015), and the unemployment rate of each region reduced to not more than one percentage point above the national average.

I introduced the Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) in 2017 to support the development and implementation of collaborative and innovative projects to sustain and add to employment at county, regional and national level. To date, the REDF has been delivered through two competitive calls, and a total of 42 projects across all regions have together secured just under €60 million.

I announced a further €45 million Call 3 of the REDF in June this year and I expect to be able to announce the successful projects following the completion of the competitive evaluation process by Enterprise Ireland by the end of this year or shortly thereafter.

Enterprise Ireland provides advice and support to indigenous companies all over the country. In addition, through the network of 31 Local Enterprise Offices in every county, Enterprise Ireland, in partnership with the Local Authorities, plays a critical role in driving and nurturing entrepreneurship all the way from an originating idea at local level, to taking-on global markets. Across the 31 LEOs around the country, 3,656 new jobs were supported in 2018 of which almost 80% were located outside of Co. Dublin.

In 2018 Enterprise Ireland supported companies employed 215,207 people. During that year, 18,846 new jobs were created resulting in a net gain of 9,119 jobs, with 61% of new jobs created in 2018 outside Dublin. Currently, 64% of all Enterprise Ireland supported employment is located outside of Dublin.

Earlier this year Enterprise Ireland’s Regional Strategy “Powering the Regions” was launched with a focus on the delivery of key regional initiatives including:

- Increasing productivity and resilience to optimise growth opportunities;

- Collaborate in the growth of microenterprises, HPSUs, female entrepreneurship;

- Optimise enterprise growth in cities, urban and rural locations;

- Support the development of co-working and incubation spaces;

- Implement an initiative on second-site locations in the regions; and

- Deliver a collaborative strategy to deliver Food Direct Investment in the regions.

As regards attracting Foreign Direct Investment in the past year (2018) every region in Ireland has seen foreign direct investment (FDI) employment gains and there are now over 132,000 people employed across 681 firms in IDA client companies located outside of Dublin. Furthermore, 56% of all net new FDI jobs created last year were based in regional locations which represents more IDA jobs added in the regions than at any time over the past 17 years. At the end of 2018, 58% of all IDA supported employment was located outside of Dublin. This represents the highest number of people employed by IDA clients outside of Dublin in the history of the organisation.

Attracting FDI to regional areas is not without its challenges The IDA's Regional Property Programme (RPP) remains an important tool through which investors can be encouraged to locate in areas outside of Dublin. Budget 2019 saw the Agency allocated an additional €10m for the RPP on top of the €150 m for the RPP launched in 2015. The IDA plans to develop new buildings in regional locations including Carlow, Dundalk, Monaghan, Sligo, Athlone, Waterford, Limerick and Galway.

Finally, strategic investments within the overarching national context, through Project Ireland 2040 are also key to ensuring each region can contribute to, and participate in Ireland’s future national growth, and sustain a higher standard of living over the longer term.

Small and Medium Enterprises Supports

Ceisteanna (312)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

312. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the degree to which she continues to assist small and medium enterprises; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50416/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

My Department and I are fully committed to the continued growth and development of our small and medium indigenous enterprises. The Department is engaging and listening to the needs of small businesses, which account for 99.8% of all enterprises in the State. My Department through its Agencies, Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs), provides a range of tailored supports to micro, small and medium enterprises. Supports include access to finance, management development, mentoring supports, business development programmes, market supports and trade promotion.

At the end of 2018 there were 36,666 people employed by 7,164 small business and start-ups that had received financial assistance from the LEOs through schemes such as the Technical Assistance for Micro-Exporters (TAME) Grant, Priming Grants, Business Expansion Grants, Feasibility Study Grants, the Trading Online Voucher Scheme and through Microfinance loans.

In 2018 Enterprise Ireland (EI) client companies reported strong employment performance with 217,186 people employed in companies supported by the agency and 18,896 new jobs created. EI client exports increased to €23.8bn in 2018.

My Department, in partnership with the Department of Education and Skills and EI, is supporting client companies to identify and address their critical skills needs. Under this collaborative programme, EI has designed regionally focused Spotlight on Skills Workshops. The aim of the workshops is to assist client companies to identify their critical skills needs, and to support the growth of their businesses.

EI are working to support Regional Enterprise Development and have awarded €60 million to 42 projects under the competitive Regional Enterprise Fund. Under the Regional Technology Clustering Fund, Enterprise Ireland will provide funding to the Institutes of Technology to increase their engagement and connectivity with SMEs.

My Department is also leading on the implementation of the SME Test. The main thrust of the Test is to assess and design-in appropriate less stringent requirements for smaller companies and the simplification of regulatory adherence, for example through the use of templates, reduced thresholds for SMEs, and the use of plain English in forms.

I am pleased that the application and use of the SME Test across Government is now a deliverable action in the Future Jobs 2019 work programme. The adoption of the Test is included under action 2.3 which states:

“Raise awareness and promote the SME Test throughout Government Departments. Workshops will be available for policymakers”

Additionally, I have requested officials within the Indigenous Enterprise Development Division of my Department be available to assist other Departments in using the Test and answering any questions they may have.

Earlier this year my Department updated the Supportingsmes.gov.ie website, directing small businesses to their most relevant out of a possible 170 Government supports. It has a latest news page and events calendar for SME related events.

Furthermore, in October I launched the OECD Review of SME and Entrepreneurship Policy in Ireland with Minister Breen and OECD Deputy Secretary General Knudsen. This report is pivotal research on the environment for SMEs in Ireland, the scale of which has not been delivered before.

I am working with my Department officials on how best to progress implementation of the key recommendations in the OECD report and I intend to bring forward a national strategic document for SME and entrepreneurship policy outlining planned policy interventions in the near future. This strategy will set out the policy vision, objectives, targets, lines of action and performance indicators specific to SMEs and entrepreneurship. It will cover all areas of policy intervention and all SME and entrepreneurship populations. The new SME and Entrepreneurship Strategy will be a living document which will continuously evolve in line with enterprise needs.

Equal Opportunities Employment

Ceisteanna (313)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

313. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the degree to which she continues to assist enterprises headed by women nationally, with particular reference to the need to address previously recognised employment blackspots; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50417/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

I have a long-standing focus on seeing an increase in the numbers of women in business and women becoming entrepreneurs. As recognised in Future Jobs Ireland, increasing female participation is a vital way to grow the diversity and strength of our indigenous business sector.

My Department, and Government as a whole, continue to monitor and assess the number of women in business. While I welcome Ireland’s recent improvement to 5th from a previous 8th position in Europe for the rate of female entrepreneurship in the 2018 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Report, there is more we can achieve.

My Department, together with Enterprise Ireland (EI) and the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs), have introduced a number of initiatives to increase female participation in business, such as EI's female-only Competitive Start Up Fund, and female-specific training and mentoring programmes run by the LEOs.

The LEOs actively engage in encouraging and inspiring female-led businesses through initiatives such as the annual National Women’s Enterprise Day and the Women in Business Networks.

On October 17th , over 1,600 female entrepreneurs attended 17 strategically organised LEO events to celebrate their National Women’s Enterprise Day. Each year this event gains further momentum, encouraging the promotion of female entrepreneurship, showcasing what supports are available to women in business. All 31 LEOs were behind the initiative and they enlisted the help of established entrepreneurs to act as Regional Ambassadors, to share their success stories at the events.

This growth in popularity has been reflected in the national growth in female entrepreneurship. In 2018, 22,000 business women availed of LEO-led mentoring and training programmes specifically targeted towards female entrepreneurship - this represented a 19% increase on similar targeted services in 2017.

EI has also developed a series of female accelerator programmes in partnership with knowledge providers such as Going for Growth, the National Digital Research Centres (NDRC) Female Founders Programme, Dublin BIC Innovate, and DCU Ryan Academy Female Highfliers.

To promote and support the number of women working in business and becoming entrepreneurs, I have asked Enterprise Ireland to review and bring forward a new Female Entrepreneurship Strategy. This new strategy will have a specific focus on addressing barriers to women in business including attitudes to risk, access to finance, networking opportunities and visible role models.

EI’s new strategy will also include initiatives to support women progressing to senior levels in business and to improve the broader entrepreneurship policy environment for women. The strategy will also target an increase in the numbers of ambitious female-led companies that scale in international markets, and increasing the numbers of female-founded high potential start-ups. Showcasing female entrepreneur role models and highlighting female achievements in enterprise are essential to encouraging more women to establish a business.

I, and my Department, have worked intensively to shine a light of female entrepreneurship through identification and promotion of female role models with targeted events and awards including Network Ireland’s "Business Networking for Women Across Ireland", the 30% Club, and the Planet Woman Academy.

The implementation of this strategy has had a positive impact on the number of female founders, for example increasing by 15% the number of female founders of High Potential Start Ups across the period 2011 to 2018. To build on the success of this strategy, Enterprise Ireland is finalising a new Women in Enterprise Strategy . This strategy will be published in January 2020.

I, and my Department and its Agencies, will continue to advocate and promote the importance of increasing representation of our female entrepreneurs amongst Ireland’s business ecosystem.

Enterprise Support Services Provision

Ceisteanna (314)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

314. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the degree to which she continues to promote, generate and support Irish business at home and abroad in view of ongoing challenges such as Brexit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50418/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Government has a new plan - Future Jobs Ireland - to ensure we are preparing now for the jobs of the future. While the economy is performing well with strong employment and unemployment down to 4.8% in October this year, we cannot be complacent. In the past we took success for granted and failed to prepare for emerging challenges, trends and opportunities.

Future Jobs Ireland includes ambitious targets and actions to drive this transformation of our economy. These include funds, policies and initiatives that will enhance productivity, especially among SMEs; promote indigenous entrepreneurship, especially in the regions, encourage clustering and stronger links between domestic and foreign owned firms, and, assist businesses to move up the value chain, to protect jobs and to build resilience for the future.

The long-term response to Brexit is for companies across all sectors to become more competitive, more innovative and to diversify their export footprint into more international markets. The agencies under my Department have a wide range of supports available to enable companies to consolidate market share within the UK, and also to become more resilient by broadening their sales to other international markets.

Enterprise Ireland’s results for 2018 show the progress that the Agency have been making in supporting and driving the creation of new enterprises in the indigenous sector at a national and regional level. Client companies assisted by Enterprise Ireland (EI) created 18,896 jobs in 2018 and 64% of the jobs created were outside Dublin, with all regions recording increases in employment. There were 217,186 people employed by Enterprise Ireland supported companies in 2018, the highest total employment in the history of the agency. Exports also reached a new record high of €23.8 billion in 2018. Importantly, these EI client firms have extensive links to their local economies around the country and EI client purchases of raw material and services and wages to direct employees exceeded €27 billion in 2018.

Enterprise Ireland clients' exports continued to rise for a ninth consecutive year and now stand at €23.8 billion, the highest level in the history of the State. This represents a 6% increase on 2017, and a €10.9 billion increase in exports since 2009.

During 2018, EI progressed with its strategic ambition to expand the Irish export footprint, by growing exports beyond the UK, while consolidating and building upon hard-won UK market positions. The 2018 export figures confirm that EIs clients are exporting more than ever before, to more diversified markets than ever before. Importantly, 417 companies established new overseas presences in 2018.

In the UK, which is and will remain, EI clients' largest market, exports remained strong and increased by 4%, despite the prevailing challenges of volatility and uncertainty. EI progressed with their ambition to reduce overall UK market exposure to one-third by 2020. During 2018 EI achieved a further one per cent reduction in UK market exposure, reducing it to 33%, down more than 10% over the years, reflecting the success Irish companies are having in substantially increasing and broadening their exports to other international markets.

The Eurozone region, which is a key focus of Enterprise Ireland's diversification strategy, saw growth of 7.6% to €4.8bn, with Germany, France and the Netherlands each exceeding €1bn in exports.

I officially opened Enterprise Ireland’s new office in Munich last week, which is their second office in Germany. It is one of seven new offices that the Government is funding in key markets worldwide, as part of our overseas strategy, Global Ireland 2025, which aims to double our international impact. Market diversification has never been more important than it is now with Brexit on the horizon.

Enterprise Ireland’s focus is to assist client companies to build on the strength of their 2018 performance by supporting them to start, innovate, be competitive and to diversify their global footprint. In delivering on this, new supports have been introduced, others streamlined, a Global Ambition campaign launched and an intensive programme initiated to support companies to take action and plan for Brexit so that they have the resilience necessary to navigate the challenges and opportunities posed by any kind of Brexit.

Enterprise Ireland has a broad range of supports to help companies prepare for Brexit including the Brexit Scorecard, Be Prepared Grant, Advisory Clinics, Agile Innovation Fund, Operational Excellence Offer and Market Discovery Fund. Recently launched EI supports including online Customs Training and Act On Consultancy. In addition, the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) recently launched their customs training offering which is available to all companies. Furthermore, the suite of enterprise supports in place cover a range of potential Brexit impacts. These range from liquidity support through short term and longer term loans, to restructuring aid for businesses in severe operating difficulties, including an EU State aid approved Rescue and Restructure Scheme to deal with sudden shocks and an expanded network of overseas offices and in-market supports to help firms diversify markets and to consolidate market share in the UK where appropriate.

The 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) are located throughout the country and provide a range of supports for the micro and small business sector. The LEOs act as the “first-stop-shop” for providing advice and guidance, financial assistance and other supports to those wishing to start or grow their own business. The Government agreed to increase funding for the LEOs by 22% in 2019 and this increase is being used to assist micro-enterprises in becoming more competitive and to build resilience against Brexit.

To drive awareness of the importance of preparing for Brexit, a number of regional advisory clinics have been held by Enterprise Ireland and the LEOs around the country.

It is also vital that businesses themselves prepare for Brexit impacts and take actions to mitigate against any adverse effects. Firms that do business with the UK, whether buying goods or exporting products, should in particular, examine their supply chains to determine their vulnerabilities and take appropriate action.

Job Creation

Ceisteanna (315)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

315. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the extent to which adequate incentives remain available to encourage the indigenous sector with particular reference to job creation enterprises; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50419/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Government has a new plan - Future Jobs Ireland - to ensure we are preparing now for the jobs of the future. While the economy is performing well with strong employment and wage growth, we cannot be complacent. In the past we took success for granted and failed to prepare for emerging challenges, trends and opportunities. It is my priority as Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation to see more jobs created in the regions. Regional development is a key priority for this Government and it is important that the value of collaboration and the work by the development agencies, which has yielded strong jobs results in recent years, must be complimented by a bottom-up approach in providing critical business supports and advice.

Enterprise Ireland’s results for 2018 show the progress being made in supporting and driving the creation of new enterprises in the indigenous sector, at both a national and regional level. Client companies assisted by Enterprise Ireland (EI) created 18,846 jobs in 2018 and 64% of the jobs created were outside Dublin, with all regions recording increases in employment. There were 215,207 people employed by EI supported companies in 2018, the highest total employment in the history of the agency and exports also reached a new record of €23.8 billion. Importantly, these EI client firms have extensive links to their local economies around the country and EI client purchases of raw material and services and wages to direct employees exceeded €27 billion in 2018.

EI provide funding and other supports with the objective of increasing the potential employment and sales growth of businesses, supporting regional development, increasing the productivity and innovation in indigenous businesses, and increasing exports.

The 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) are located throughout the country and provide a range of supports for the micro and small business sector. The LEOs act as the “first-stop-shop” for providing advice and guidance, financial assistance and other supports to those wishing to start or grow their own business. The Government agreed to increase funding for the LEOs by 22% in 2019 and this increase is being used to assist micro-enterprises in becoming more competitive and to build resilience against Brexit. The LEOs are supporting over 36,000 jobs in 7,000 small Irish businesses and significantly in 2018 171 LEO clients were transferred to EI for further growth and investment. Future Jobs Ireland has a commitment to examine how best to strengthen the capacity of the LEOs to work with and support a broader range of ambitious and growth-oriented enterprises to improve productivity growth, innovation and resilience.

In March 2017 the Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) was launched by Government. The REDF is a €60m competitive fund complementary to the Regional Enterprise plans and with the overarching aim of driving enterprise development and job creation in each region throughout Ireland. The Fund is administered for my Department by Enterprise Ireland and it is aimed at supporting collaborative and innovative projects that can have a significant impact on enterprise development and help to sustain and add to employment at a national, regional and county level.

During 2017 and 2018, 42 projects have been awarded funding as part of Government initiatives under Project Ireland 2040, over two completed Calls for Proposals worth a total of almost €60m, with collaborative projects supported in every region.

I announced a third REDF competitive call in June of this year, with a fund of €45m to further align this fund with key policy developments including Future Jobs Ireland and in order to continue to build Brexit resilience in the regions. Assessment and evaluation of applications took place in October / November and I expect to be in a position to announce the successful projects in the coming weeks.