Ireland’s banking system is still not functioning as a business banking system and until it does job creation will be stymied. That’s what Dara Calleary TD told the 31st Annual MacGill Summer School in Glenties, Donegal.
“In order to maximise opportunities from the renewable sector, we should adapt an all island approach, establishing an All Island Renewable Energy Company with an examination of the possibilities of a common planning and tax system specifically for renewables,” Deputy Calleary also commented during his speech.
Another topic touched on by the Ballina Fianna Fáil TD was the decision of Government to concentrate on the basics in the education curriculum, especially in maths, as “crucial to future job creation in the IT and high tech sector”.
From the outset of his presentation Dep Calleary commented on the deals struck in Brussels last Thursday relating to our debt and in Dublin relating to the Bank of Ireland. “Both deals are, of course, welcome. Our burden is eased, yes, but clearly still remains. The important message of the BOI deal in particular is that it represents investor confidence in our banking system while at the same time reducing the burden on our taxpayers.
“However, now that international investors have shown confidence in our banking system, it is time for our banking system to show confidence in Irish business, particularly in our SME sector. On Sunday I met a gentlemen who employs 80 people down the coast producing a world-beating product in the electrical field. He has contracts throughout Europe and could have many more. He has a working capital requirement of €600,000 annually, however he can’t even get €5,000 from his Irish bank. He’s no Flash Harry, you won’t see him in the social pages, he was literally a man with a plan some 20 years ago and with a passion for his area that drove him to be an employment creator, that drove him to completely change his business when technology overtook him to ensure that on the next occasion he would overtake technology rather than the other way around. Yet for the want of a functioning banking system that recognises the kind of business he is in, he is now travelling in the slow lane of international business and unable to create employment,” explained Dep Calleary.
He added that the retail and service industries were haemorrhaging jobs, many of which could be saved with banking support.
Dep Calleary also admitted that the last government did not get a handle on the issue but had begun to prepare the groundwork for a small credit insurance scheme, similar to the scheme being rolled out in September.
Dep Calleary pointed to other areas where jobs could be created including tourism and services, education and medicine. “We may need to re-imagine a lot of things though. There can be no sacred cows in the Ireland of 2011,” he concluded.