Competiveness, Innovation & Exports will be key to success

The Chairman of the Small Firms Association, Dr Aidan O’Boyle, in his address to over 700 members at the SFA Annual Lunch, today: “It is time for Ireland to get back to business.

We urgently need to get business costs back in line with our European and international competitors and reduce the cost of the public sector in light of the new economic realities. Only then will we be able to compete successfully again on the world stage.

No amount of protests will change the fact that we cannot continue to borrow €400m a week. Industrial action will disrupt employment and public services and do nothing to address the jobs crisis the country now faces. It is the last thing the country needs at this time of economic uncertainty.

"With the country now €26 billion in deficit, we must set our sights on reshaping our economy and society to be sustainable. Painful but necessary reductions in income are inevitable if we are to protect jobs. Every single citizen will have to be realistic and accept a lower standard of living.

Dr O'Boyle continued: "As small businesses, we know that the recipe for future growth stems from our ability to innovate and get back to what we are good at, exporting. Throughout the 1990s we applied this recipe and the economy grew in leaps and bounds, with Irish merchandise exports peaking at €93.7 billion in 2002. Since then it has been downhill, with exports declining to around €86.2 billion in 2008.  As a small island economy of 4.5m people, exports are our lifeblood. Without the excess cash from the property bubble fuelling the domestic economy, we now need more companies to become competitive and innovative. Only this will create new jobs and generate the tax revenues that the government so desperately needs.

Dr O'Boyle paid tribute to the role that the US Ambassador Rooney had played in bringing the recent G20 summit to his home town of Pittsburgh. Dr O'Boyle also voiced the support of small business in Ireland for the Leaders Statement on how to get the world economy moving again, namely through: targeting sustainable economic growth linked to job creation; reaching agreement on Climate Change in Copenhagen in December of this year; and increasing clean and renewable energy supplies, together with improving energy efficiency. "In Ireland we have the human talent and the energy resources in terms of wind and wave power to become a world leader in the energy field.  Many of our innovative small firms are ideally positioned to take up this energy challenge."

Article Published: 06/11/2009