Minister Mitchell O’Connor welcomes strong improvement in Ireland’s competitiveness performance

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D., today (Thursday June 1st) welcomed the findings of the IMD’s 2017 Global Competitiveness Yearbook which shows that Ireland’s competitiveness ranking has improved by one place this year and Ireland is now the 6th most competitive economy as benchmarked by the IMD. Within the EU and Euro area Ireland is the second most competitive economy. This is Ireland’s best competitiveness ranking as benchmarked by the IMD, since 2000. Continue reading

Knowledge Development Box (Certification of Inventions) Act 2017 comes into force and now extends to SMEs

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor has announced the commencement of an Act for a certification scheme aimed at inventions developed by SMEs. The scheme comes within the Knowledge Development Box initiative announced in the Finance Act, 2015.

Announcing the scheme the Minister said “this is a good day for innovative SMEs involved in research and development that results in valuable Intellectual Property (IP) assets”.

Under the scheme, SMEs can apply to the Controller of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks for a certificate where they believe that their IP generated as a result of R&D is novel, non-obvious and useful. If granted, the certificate will allow the SME to apply the lower rate of corporation tax of 6.25% to profits arising from the intellectual property assets.

Evidence shows that investment in R&D increases economic productivity and fosters competitiveness and that firms with a persistent R&D strategy outperform those with an irregular or no R&D investment program.

Welcoming the scheme the Minister said “R&D can be very expensive and time consuming and not all R&D is successful. SMEs that invest in R&D will now be able to benefit from the lower rate of corporation tax if their IP meets the criteria of being novel, non-obvious and useful. I expect that the extension of the KDB to Irish SMEs will incentivise greater levels of R&D within the indigenous sector and that with greater levels of R&D, increased job creation will follow which is a key priority of mine.”

Welcoming the scheme, the Minister for Employment and Small Business, Mr Pat Breen TD, said “it places SMEs on a par with larger companies by making them for eligible for a lower rate of corporation tax on profits from their IP assets. I welcome this additional support and anticipate that it will encourage our indigenous SMEs to be more creative.

The Minister for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan TD, said “Promoting innovation is a key focus for me in my role as Minister for Innovation and I believe this Act offers SMEs valuable opportunities to invest in greater levels of R&D”.

Pitney Bowes Invests in Dublin Creating 100 Jobs

Pitney Bowes Inc., a global technology company, has today announced plans to open a new Operations Centre in Dublin that will house a three-year multi-million euro R&D project focused on developing a next generation e-commerce and payments platform for global brands.

The new Operations Centre will comprise a Client Support Centre and Research & Design Centre, creating approximately 100 new jobs for technical support, customer support and e-commerce R&D professionals in the region over the next few years.

As global commerce continues to grow, the platform being developed at the Research & Design Centre in Dublin will create opportunities for merchants to reach consumers around the world and expand into new markets at speed.

The Client Support Centre is part of Pitney Bowes’ global strategy to deliver its clients the best support as more organisations, including 90 per cent of the Fortune 500, rely on its solutions and services to power global commerce. The technical support and customer support professionals will serve clients located in the UK, Ireland and Nordic regions.

Pitney Bowes’ investment in Dublin is supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through IDA Ireland. Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor said, “I’m delighted that Pitney Bowes are opening a new Operations Centre which will create 100 new jobs and are investing in a high value strategic R&D project. We in Government are working to make Ireland an attractive destination for global technology companies such as Pitney Bowes. Our economy is an open and business friendly one with a minimum of administrative hurdles. We strive to ensure that we have the requisite skills available to meet the needs of industry and this is paying off. I wish Pitney Bowes every success with their Client Support Centre and their R&D project.”

“Dublin’s rich mix of client services talent and language skills, combined with the excellent support that we’ve received from IDA Ireland make it a great place for us to locate our client support operation as well as our innovation team,” said Audrey Lynch, Director of Client Operations for Europe at Pitney Bowes Inc. “Our clients turn to us around the clock to power billions of transactions globally, and ensuring they receive the best account and technical support is a strategic priority for us. This new facility will help us deliver on our promise to clients in the UK, Ireland and Nordics.”

Martin Shanahan, CEO of IDA Ireland said: “Ireland’s diverse multilingual talent pool and pro-business infrastructure make Ireland the ideal destination for companies like Pitney Bowes. I am delighted that they have chosen to establish both a customer support centre and a high value R&D project in Ireland. I wish the company every success and offer the continued support of IDA Ireland in the future.”

Pitney Bowes currently operates in Dublin a Global Ecommerce centre, supporting cross-border retail for many of the world’s most iconic retailers and brands. The new Pitney Bowes Client Support Centre team will be located alongside their Global Ecommerce colleagues in Fitzwilliam Square West, Dublin and builds on the company’s continued investment in the region.

In 2016 Ireland’s economy grew by 5.2 per cent, outstripping all other Eurozone countries and nearly all official forecasts. A growing number of multinational companies are continuing to choose the region as a base for locating either their European hubs or regional customer support facilities.

Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor welcomes continuing strong growth in employment

Almost 70,000 more people at work since this time last year

More than 3 out of every 4 new jobs created were outside Dublin

Unemployment falling in all regions

23rd May 2017

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor today (Tuesday) welcomed the latest Quarterly National Household Survey figures from the Central Statistics Office, showing that employment continues to increase strongly with 69,600 more people employed at the end of Q1 2017.

Importantly, there has been strong growth in the number of people full time employed while part time employment continues to fall.

The figures also show that there are now 2,063,900 people at work in Ireland.
This is the 19th quarter in succession where unemployment has declined.

The figures from the CSO today also show that unemployment continues to fall in all regions.

Employment grew in 11 out of 14 economic sectors – the largest annual increases were recorded in the industry sector (increase of 15,300 jobs), construction (increase of 10,900 jobs), and accommodation and food services (increase of 9,900 jobs)

Speaking today, Minister Mary Mitchell O’ Connor said: These figures are very positive and show that we are heading in the right direction towards full employment. The figures show that businesses right across the country are employing and that Government policies are working. It is very important for me to see the growth in employment is broad based, both sectorally and regionally. This is a key priority for me as every job that is created is transforming people’s lives.

Minister Mitchell O’Connor visits Flow Technology on Trade and Investment Mission in Ireland

With executives from Flow Technology and Enterprise Ireland

Thursday 18 May

As part of the two-day Enterprise Ireland / IDA Trade & Investment Mission in Ireland event, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD visited Flow Technology at their facility in Charleville, Co. Cork on 17 May.

The company, set up 40 years ago by the current owner’s father, Denis Murphy, is now one of Ireland’s leading process systems and equipment manufacturers, servicing the biotechnology, beverage and food industries in Ireland and Europe.

Key to its expansion over the years was a strategic decision to diversify into servicing Ireland’s multinational owned bio-pharmaceutical base, a move now supported by the joint Enterprise Ireland / IDA Global Sourcing initiative. The result is that the company has doubled its turnover in the last two years and increased its employment to 50 people. With further growth anticipated in the FDI & Indigenous sectors, the company plans further expansion & investment in its facilities in Charleville and expects additional growth in employment in the 2018-2020 period.

During her visit to Flow Technology, Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD said: “Flow Technology is a prime example of the world class supplier base that Ireland now offers the ever-increasing multinational Life Sciences sector. Flow Technology are an ambitious and growing company which provide employment and make a difference to the lives of people right here in Charleville. I want to congratulate Tim and his highly skilled workforce on their success and wish them well in the future”.

Flow Technology provides GMP solutions constructed on client sites or as pre-fabricated skid modules from its Charleville facilities including: –
• Clean In Place
• Chromatography
• Depth / Ultra / Nano Filtration
• High Temperature Short Time heat treatment
• Disposable systems
• Temperature Control Modules
• Transfer Panels
• Bio-waste Deactivation
• Buffer Dilution
• Purified Water Distribution

CEO Tim Murphy, who joined the company in 1993 having worked overseas for several years, said “The company’s high level of repeat business is due to our employee’s track record for technical excellence and quality of service, with these same values being instilled into newly recruited graduate engineers & apprentices, we aim for continued growth & success. As a regional indigenous Irish owned company, we thank Enterprise Ireland for their support to date. We look forward to continued support from Enterprise Ireland as the business grows, assisting with introduction of the Irish supplier base to new FDI arrivals & also from a government which prioritises infrastructural development to support regional business”.

The joint Enterprise Ireland / IDA Global Sourcing Initiative was established as part of the Irish Government’s Action Plan for Jobs strategy with the aim of increasing the level of engagement between IDA backed multinational companies based in Ireland and Irish suppliers.
The goal is that by working together on this agenda that the agencies, with the support of key industry players, can assist multinational procurement teams meet their sourcing needs while deepening the penetration by Irish companies of the multinational sector.

Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor attends Foreign Affairs Council – Trade, Brussels

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. will today (Thursday 11th May) attend, the Foreign Affairs Council – Trade in Brussels. The Minister will discuss at Council preparations for the 11th World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference, implementation of Free Trade Agreements, an update on preparations for the opening of new trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand and an update on ongoing trade negotiations with Japan, Mexico and Mercosur.

Speaking at the Council today the Minister said that “promoting trade and diversifying into new markets is critical for Ireland .Today we will be working on progressing the EUs ambitious trade negotiations. These new trade agreements will create real opportunities for Irish business and will support our firms in realising their trade diversification strategies which are all the more important in light of brexit.”

The Minister will also hold a bilateral meeting with Ms. Ann Linde, Swedish Minister for EU Affairs and Trade as part of her ongoing programme of engagements with EU counterparts on the trade, enterprise and Brexit agenda.

Minister Mitchell O’Connor will also continue her ongoing dialogue with Lord Price, UK Minister of State for Trade Policy, on the importance of the Ireland / UK trade and economic relationship. The Minister will once again point out the significance of the impact of the UK exit from the EU on Ireland and reiterate the unique nature of the Irish /UK relationship.

Minister Mitchell O’Connor announces publication of submissions to public consultation on resale of tickets for entertainment and sporting events

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, today announced the publication of the responses received by her Department to the recent public consultation on the resale of tickets for entertainment and sporting events. The 24 responses can be accessed on the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation website at

Announcing the publication, the Minister said –
I would like to thank the individuals, sporting organisations, promoters, primary and secondary ticketing service providers and others who took the time and trouble to respond to the consultation. Their responses contain a considerable amount of interesting and informative material about the organisation of major entertainment and sporting events and the operation of the primary and secondary markets for such events. They cover a range of different views on the matters at issue and put forward a range of different, and in some cases conflicting solutions, as to what might be done to help ensure that ticket markets would work better for music and sports fans in the future.

I would encourage everyone with an interest in the issue to read and reflect on the responses to the consultation. Before decisions are taken on a complex issue with a number of different dimensions, it is important that we have the fullest possible understanding of the issues and interests at stake and the widest possible debate on the policy measures that should be adopted.’

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D., the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross T.D., and the Minister for Tourism and Sport, Patrick O’Donovan T.D., launched the public consultation on the resale of tickets for entertainment and sporting events on 20 January 2017.

The consultation was undertaken in response to public concern at the resale of tickets for major entertainment and sporting events at a price often well in excess of their face value. The consultation paper looked in detail at a number of relevant aspects of ticket resale, including –
§ the workings of the primary and secondary ticket markets for entertainment and sporting events,
§ how tickets sold or allocated through the primary ticket market end up for resale on the secondary ticket market and who puts them for resale,
§ the legislation regulating ticket resale in Ireland, other EU member states, the US and other countries, and
§ what different stakeholders do, or do not do, to address the issues and concerns raised by ticket resale.

The consultation paper sought the inputs and views of interested parties on possible measures aimed at securing fairer access to tickets for consumers. A total of 24 responses have been received to the consultation, including submissions from sporting organisations, promoters and primary and secondary ticketing services providers.

Minister Mitchell O’Connor welcomes continuing fall in Live Register

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, today (Friday) welcomed the publication of the latest Live Register figures, showing a continuing fall in the numbers of people signing on. The seasonally adjusted figures show a decline of 4,600 compared to the March figures and a decline of 42,123 compared to the April 2016 figures.

In unadjusted terms at the end of April, there were 263,417 persons signing on the Live Register.

The number of persons on the Live Register in April 2017 is the lowest number recorded in the seasonally adjusted series since October, 2008.
The figures also show that the live register has decreased in all eight regions of the country over the past 12 months.

Earlier this week, CSO figures showed that the unemployment rate fell to 6.2 % down from 6.4 % in March and from 8.4 % in April 2016.

Speaking from the US while on an IDA Marketing Programme Minister Mitchell O’Connor said “We have had very positive employment figures this week from the CSO. Earlier this week we saw a 9 year low of people unemployed with the unemployment rate now at 6.2% and now it is very positive to see that there is a continuous fall in the numbers of people on the live register. I’m greatly encouraged to see that numbers on the Live Register have fallen across all Regions. We are heading towards full employment and I am determined that our focus remains on continuing to create the right environment for job growth right across the country.

Minister Mitchell O’Connor publishes a survey on Irish SMEs views on Brexit and sets out action plan

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, has today published the findings of a survey of 1,045 SME business owners which was conducted in January by Behaviour & Attitudes, and has set out a number of actions being developed to support SMEs in responding to the challenges of Brexit.

Minister Mitchell O’Connor said: “While the survey results are of a point in time, the findings have helped inform the deliberations of my Department in considering what additional steps may need to be taken to support SMEs impacted by Brexit. Extensive engagement has also been undertaken with stakeholders including the Local Enterprise Offices, Enterprise Ireland, individual businesses and business representative bodies.”

The survey indicated that 49% of companies had experienced no impact on their business from Brexit, and a further 15% had experienced minimal impact. However, when asked to look forward over the next 18 months the percentage expecting no Brexit impact drops to 26%, with 17% (1 in 6) expecting a significant impact.

The Minister for Employment and Small Business, Mr Pat Breen TD, commented “The survey shows that the types of companies impacted most in the short term are small businesses (5 – 50 employees), those in the border region and those involved in food exports. Non-food exporting companies anticipate that they will be affected more significantly in the long term. The survey highlights the importance for SMEs to be Brexit ready.”
Working capital for firms exporting to the UK and indeed beyond to the EU and other markets has emerged as an issue for companies, as has a need to support competitiveness, innovation and market diversification.

The Minister said “My department has been working with the Department of Finance, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Enterprise Ireland and the SBCI to build an understanding of the business needs of companies in adapting to the challenges posed by Brexit and to develop appropriate and targeted responses to support them. Based on this work, I recently secured the agreement of the Cabinet Committee for Economy Trade and Jobs to progress the development of a proposed Brexit Working Capital Guarantee Scheme and to scope out the need for a longer term Business Development Loan Scheme which would assist firms in investing for a post-Brexit environment.”

Development of these proposed responses is at an early stage, and is subject to resources being agreed as part of the annual budget process, and with due regards to State aid rules.

The Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation is also exploring the development of a business advisory hub which would assist SMEs to make informed funding/investment decisions and helps them avail of private market solutions or existing State supports. This would build on the existing supports available and the advice and guidance offered by Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices and the Credit Review Office.

Minister Mitchell O’ Connor concluded “Brexit is an ongoing issue and I am conscious that the environment may change as the Brexit negotiations develop. I will continue to listen to the business community and to develop appropriate policy responses to help them in addressing the challenges of Brexit.”

“Brexit – the view of Irish SMEs” Survey here

Minister Mitchell O’Connor welcomes fall in annual unemployment rate from 8.4% to 6.2% from April 2016 to April 2017

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD today (Wednesday) welcomed the Monthly Unemployment figures for April published by the Central Statistics Office, showing that the official unemployment rate has fallen from 6.4% in March to April and from 8.4% in April 2016. The statistics also show:

· On a seasonally adjusted basis 4,800 fewer people were unemployed in April compared to March 

· 47,300 fewer people were unemployed in April compared with twelve months earlier 

· Unemployment among people aged between 15-24 has fallen by 0.8% in a month 

Commenting on today’s figures Minister Mitchell O’Connor said: “The continuing fall in unemployment for April is very welcome news. Seeing the unemployment rate for April drop down to 6.2% from 6.4% last month and from 8.4% this time last year is very positive. It is important that we continue with our policies to ensure that job creation continues to grow right across the country. The CSO also released this morning data on Foreign Direct Investment in Ireland in 2015 which shows that Ireland has become one of the most globalised countries in the world. We are going in the right direction to make full employment in Ireland a reality. As we know being able to earn a livelihood is all important, allowing people to take charge of their future,to make plans and to have hope and optimism. I would like everyone to have that opportunity for self-determination and fulfilment through employment.”