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Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Bill 2019: Committee Stage (Continued)

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 980 No. 4

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy David Cullinane: Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane] The Government has not done enough. Fianna Fáil has not come forward with any plan whatsoever on Brexit with regard to any additional supports needed by businesses. I did not hear any plan in Deputy Kelleher's very short contribution. When the Minister responded earlier it was, again, a shocking response to the position businesses will find themselves in if there is a hard crash. The Minister, Deputy Humphreys, talked of clinics and scorecards. It is almost as if the Government is saying that businesses should Google responses. These are desktop supports rather than practical, financial supports that are necessary to support businesses.

Deputy Heather Humphreys: Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys The supports are there.

Deputy David Cullinane: Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane They are not there to any great degree.

Deputy Heather Humphreys: Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys The supports are there.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher The Deputy, please, without interruption.

Deputy David Cullinane: Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane The Minister can keep saying the supports are there and she can rattle off a lot of supports that are there, but there are not enough by far. If we consider what other countries are doing and the supports they are putting in place compared with what the Government is putting in place here, Ireland will not be half as effective. It is shocking. There are no supports in this for the agrifood sector. There are no additional supports with regard to state aid rules such as those that other countries can avail of.

Deputy Heather Humphreys: Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys There are.

Deputy David Cullinane: Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane There are not. We are not straying outside of existing state aid rules anywhere in this omnibus Bill. Nowhere. Will the Minister point to one area in the Bill that goes beyond current state aid rules? There is not one. The Minister said that I should familiarise myself-----

Deputy Heather Humphreys: Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys They are already there.

Deputy David Cullinane: Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane Exactly. The Minister, however, misses the point entirely. The Irish economy needs bespoke additional support. There is no break with the state aid rules in this omnibus Bill. We are providing nothing that any other member state in the EU cannot provide to its businesses, even though Ireland is deeply exposed as an economy. Europe needs to step up to the plate. I welcome the €200 million rescue and restructuring fund but I ask the Minister, please, not to insult businesses by saying that businesses who go to clinics and fill out scorecards are being properly supported. There is a whole raft of additional supports they need which they are not getting. These businesses are experiencing real uncertainty and real challenges. It is not every sector of the economy. Some sectors are more exposed than others.

I challenge the Minister to read Sinn Féin's proposals and not just mine. I suggest she read the proposals submitted to all parties by the British Irish Chamber of Commerce, ISME, and by IBEC. The Minister should fact-check those proposals and evaluate them against what the Government does. She will see very quickly that the Government is falling short despite what she is saying, despite her spin and despite the bluster of her responses. It does not stack up with reality at all. I am very clear in my analysis that the Government is not doing enough. It is doing nowhere near enough. I will not be coming back in again and we will press the amendment.

Deputy Denis Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten I thank Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil for their support for the amendment I tabled. I put it to the Minister that it is a helpful amendment. The objective behind it is to focus on this cohort of businesses, which are disproportionately represented within rural communities, in rural constituencies throughout the State and in the provincial towns in rural Ireland. We very much need to try to focus on them and provide these companies with support. Work has been done with regard to export and import companies but we now need to look at these businesses. Having a report back in the House in 90 days would allow us to look at this cohort of businesses specifically, especially given that we will have Brexit at the very latest within the next 21 months.

  Amendment agreed to.

Deputy David Cullinane: Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane I move amendment No. 31:

In page 17, after line 33, to insert the following:
“Review of Brexit Business Supports
8. (1) The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation may undertake a review of the current Brexit business supports, including but not limited to:
(a) the Brexit Loan Scheme;

(b) the Enterprise Ireland Market Discovery Fund;

(c) the Enterprise Ireland Be Prepared Grant;

(d) the Enterprise Ireland Brexit Act On Initiative;

(e) the Enterprise Ireland Agile Innovation Fund; and

(f) the InterTradeIreland Brexit Start to Plan Voucher schemes.
(2) This review will include, but not be limited to; examining why there has been such a low uptake of these Brexit business supports to date, identify barriers for businesses accessing these supports and offer solutions on how to make it easier for businesses to benefit from these supports.

(3) The Minister will send the findings of this review to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Business, Enterprise and Innovation within two months of the enactment of this Act.”.


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