Deputy Broughan recently asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Business; Enterprise and Innovation, Frances Fitzgerald to report on the number of staff requests by each State agency under the remit of her department in each of the years 2014 to 2017 and the number of staff subsequently hired in each year in this period.
Since the shock Brexit result of last summer, Deputy Broughan has raised Ireland’s ‘readiness’ for the aftermath on many occasions in Dáil Éireann, in particular with the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. Most recently, Deputy Broughan asked Minister Mitchell O’Connor the number of requests her department had received from either IDA Ireland and or Enterprise Ireland since Brexit for permission to employ additional staff; the number of requests received, the number that were approved, pending or refused; and for a statement on the matter.
The news from the High Court in London this morning, if it is upheld by the Supreme Court, may give the Minister and this House a bit more time to prepare for the enormous challenge of Brexit. I followed the Minister’s earlier response to Deputy Collins and I wonder if the extra €52 million on the capital side, and €3 million on the current side, and the additional 50 posts, are enough across the many agencies the Minister supervises to address this huge challenge, one of the biggest we have faced since 1922.
Today in Dáil Éireann, during Priority Oral Questions with the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, Deputy Tommy Broughan called on the Minister to ensure that Irish jobs are protected, promoted and preserved throughout Brexit preparations and negotiations. While Budget 2017 provided for a 10% increase in capital expenditure for the Department of Jobs and a target to create an additional 40,000-45,000 jobs in 2017 against the most uncertain economic environment in recent years with Brexit, Deputy Broughan questioned whether the extra 50 posts in the Department and its agencies will be sufficient and whether additional funding should be provided to IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, InterTradeIreland to assist them in their mammoth tasks ahead.
We had the bad news in late February of the possible loss of 160 jobs in Coolock, Rathmore and Tallaght. We have not had any update since mid-summer. I understand the Minister established an interagency group led by Enterprise Ireland.
What progress has been made on this? Have the agency and the Department had any talks with 3G Capital, the ultimate owner of Mondelez Kraft Heinz?