The Reform Alliance, which includes Senator Fidelma Healy Eames, Denis Naughten TD and five other members of the Oireachtas are hosting a public Reform Conference in the RDS on Saturday the 25th of January 2014.
Speaking in advance of the event, Senator Eames said the conference hopes to create ideas for job creation in Galway and around Ireland.
“As well as the over 900 people who have registered to attend the conference, 350 members of the public have already submitted ideas for growing the economy and creating jobs. This conference is focussed on Politics, Health and the Economy but at its heart it is about building ideas to create a better society that will provide people with long-term sustainable jobs.”
“The Taoiseach talks about making Ireland the best small country in the world in which to do business. What we are focussed on is making Ireland the best country in the world in which to build a small business.”
“A little known fact is that just 10% of all people employed in Ireland are employed by foreign multinational investors whereas over 60% of the country work in small businesses. In 2012, 859 jobs were created by foreign multinationals in Galway. These are all welcome jobs, and we need to sustain foreign investment, but we also need to do much more to help small businesses survive and grow. The reality is Small Business growth is the only way in which we can quickly get the over 10,000 Galwegians off the live register and working in full time employment.”
“Reducing PRSI for employers is one ‘Reform’ that could be introduced, but also giving a safety net through social welfare for the self-employed is another Reform that could encourage people to have the courage to risk starting their own business.”
“All of us in the last five years have friends and family members who have left Galway either to look for a job in Dublin or have gone abroad completely. There is no great American knight going to fly into Galway and create thousands of jobs. We need to do this ourselves and create an environment that will encourage people to start a small business and invest in their businesses.”
“The banks have a huge role to play in this environment and we can’t simply allow them to make more profits through lending into the rising Dublin housing market while many businesses in Galway remain over indebted and under-invested.”
“Recent statistics from the Department of Finance show that just 25% of Small Businesses are looking for a loan but that is a problem in itself. We have to ask, why are small businesses not looking to invest in their business? In most cases from businesses I meet in Galway they have too much debt and the banks are not doing enough to write off some of that debt that relates to boom time property mistakes rather than the actual business itself.”
“Another Reform that has come from the members of the public has included giving a much greater role to Enterprise Ireland in our banks’ lending to small businesses. Enterprise Ireland is a quango worth saving and they have a strong record in lending to exporting businesses and growing those businesses. Giving them a greater role in the banks that we own would push the banks away from looking for quick gains in property and focussed on small businesses that will create jobs.”
“Our aim is to build an arsenal of Reform ideas from this national conference in Dublin on Saturday, the 25th of January, and go back to our constituencies and host smaller regional meetings to build on implementing these ideas and putting them on the agenda in the Dáil and Seanad.”