Creating Innovative, Competitive SME’s

We must help small businesses to be more competitive, more innovative and more export focussed through a range of measures including:

  • An extra €300 million for Enterprise Ireland, as part of the €4 billion Jobs Investment Fund, to provide additional support to small businesses
  • Boost by €1bn per year in new sources of finance to supplement normal bank lending to SMEs
  • An improved Innovation Voucher Scheme and more resources to support online trading
  • Ending the tax discrimination of the self-employed by 2018
  • Making Ireland more competitive by targeting a €1 billion reduction in the cost of red tape

“We know that small and medium enterprises are the lifeblood of towns and villages the length and breadth of this country. The last five years have proven that with the right support by Government, such as our Action Plan for Jobs, Irish businesses can emerge from the recession with renewed confidence for the future.

We must support Irish SMEs to grow and expand and contribute to our overall jobs plan of creating 200,000 jobs by 2020. We will provide more direct supports through Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices. We will help businesses drive innovation and do more business online. And we will cut the cost of red tape so Irish businesses can stay ahead of the pack.

“Ending the tax discrimination of self-employed people by 2018 is a central plank of Fine Gael’s plan to make work pay. We are also committed to developing and retaining the right people with the right skills for a growing modern economy, which is absolutely key to our future jobs success. That is why Fine Gael is committed to upskilling our people in technology and doubling the number of apprentices. Fine Gael has a proven track record in helping small Irish businesses to grow and to create new jobs. Fianna Fáil on the other hand hollowed out our economy in the 2000s, which eventually led to the crash and devastated our small enterprise base. We cannot return to the bad old days of Fianna Fáil who once again are recklessly promising everything to everyone without providing the necessary funding.” -Minister Bruton


Minister Coveney said:

“Fianna Fáil want voters to think they’ve changed since they crashed the economy and destroyed 300,000 jobs.

“Fine Gael has exposed the €1.2 billon black hole at the centre of the Fianna Fáil manifesto by failing to include any provision for their commitment to increase public service pay. Since then a series of Fianna Fáil spokespeople, including Micheál Martin, have been all over the place in their attempt to explain it away and are now just making it up as they go along.

“In their desperate attempt to muddy the waters they are once again proving that they cannot be trusted to manage the economy or bring recovery to all parts of Ireland.

“Their first flip flop is in relation to use of the MTO funding: ‘Fianna Fáil will not be making commitments based on any additional fiscal space from a revised MTO as we are targeting a balanced budget in structural terms.’ (Fianna Fáil’s National Economic Strategy, p.8)

“However, in an interview with Sean O’Rourke this morning Micheál Martin abandoned his commitment to balance the budget when he stated: ‘We deliberately didn’t put anything against that to leave it there as space and capacity to deal with other issues after 2018. We’re not saying by the way that’s all for public service pay either, that’s a matter to be negotiated post 2018.’

“In their second flip flop they made no reference to additional funding from tax buoyancy in their manifesto or costings but Michael McGrath on Prime Time (18th Feb) attempted to make up the numbers by stating ‘Plus you have secondary effects of about 15% when you introduce an overall expansionary package – that’s an extra €1.25 billion.’

“However, it was confirmed to Michael McGrath in a Parliamentary Question on the 5th of November 2015 that in line with EU fiscal rules, ‘additional tax revenue generated due to buoyancy, via growth in the economy or otherwise, has no impact on future available fiscal space.’

“It is becoming clear to voters that Fianna Fáil is attempting to deceive them by hiding the growing costs of all the reckless promises they are making. The gap between Fianna Fáil’s spending commitments and those of Fine Gael continues to grow. Fine Gael is allocating €7.6 billion of the fiscal space for tax and spending, leaving €2.5 billon aside for a rainy day fund. Fianna Fáil is allocating €8.4 billion for tax and spending, €800 million more than Fine Gael. If they allocate more funding for public sector pay, that gap will grow to €2 billion.”