Independents highlight problems but offer no solutions, only instability – English

Meath, Wesmeath
Fine Gael TD for Meath West and Minister Damien English, has highlighted the political incompatibility of newer political groupings and called on them and other Independents to start offering solutions, instead of simply pointing out problems.

“Many Independents are very good at pointing out problems. As we approach the election, it’s time to ask them to start offering practical solutions. It’s also time to hold a light to some of the newer political groupings and look at where their policies or lack of policies would leave the country.

“For example, Shane Ross’ Independent Alliance stands for nothing and cannot offer consistent, coherent policies. Deputy Ross has said that he wants the corporation tax to be lowered while his fellow candidate, Carol Hunt announced on RTE recently that she wants to increase it. The Independent Alliance try and make a virtue of their disharmony by saying that they welcome diverse views. However, when you get down to brass tacks, if you intend having a role in government decisions you must have agreed positions on key policy areas, such as Corporation Tax. The Independent Alliance don’t and this is a recipe for chaos.

“Strong job creation is funding tax cuts for people working and more revenue to provide better services. This is at the core of Fine Gael’s plan to keep the recovery going. The Social Democrats want to put this at risk by introducing a high tax ‘Nordic Model’ of social democracy in Ireland. What they do not say is that such a model would mean much higher levels of taxation. In Denmark where the Nordic model is favoured, an average income earner (€35,000 approx) in Denmark pays more than double the tax of the average earner in Ireland.

“As we approach the election, it’s not enough to shout from the rooftops. I challenge the Independents and newer political alignments to come up with credible, practical solutions to Ireland’s problems. Voters deserve to know what their vote is going to deliver. And we certainly don’t need the chaos and crises that would surely happen with those on the left and the Independents who are a hodgepodge of constantly changing people and positions.

“People know exactly what they will get with Fine Gael. We have a long term plan to keep the recovery going which will deliver more new jobs, spread right across the country which will pay more than welfare; and affordable, sustainable improvements in services. 

“People know what they’re getting with Fine Gael. They don’t know what they’re getting with Independents. It’s time for them to start providing answers.”


English welcomes Information Technology Agreement at WTO talks in Kenya

Business, I.T.

Minister English, in Nairobi, Kenya at the World Trade Organisation, Ministerial Conference welcomes the landmark announcement of the positive conclusion to the Information Technology Agreement negotiations

The Minister of State for Skills, Research & Innovation, Damien English, T.D. welcomed the positive conclusion to the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) negotiations at the 10th World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya.

Yesterday’s announcement is something that benefits Ireland’s consumers, businesses from lower priced IT goods. Ireland’s large technological sector is world renowned, with nine of the world’s top ten companies located here. The industry employs over 37,000 people and generates €35 billion in exports annually. This expanded agreement will allow these companies to become more competitive due to the duty-free treatment of over 200 high-tech products. The free trade deal will eliminate tariffs on 90% of trade in these goods which makes it the biggest tariff-cutting deal in the WTO in almost two decades. It has an annual trade value of €1.2 trillion, accounting for approximately 10% of global trade.

The EU along with 23 other WTO members are committing to the deal but all members will benefit from it.

Welcoming the deal, Minister English said:

“This is excellent news for Irish business and consumers which will lead to an increase in Irish IT exports, but also has the potential to provide lower prices for consumers”.

For more information contact:

Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation, Press Office – 01 631 2200 or

– See more at:

English representing Ireland at World Trade Organisation talks this week

Business, Meath, Navan, Uncategorized, Wesmeath

Local Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation and Meath West Fine Gael T.D. Damien English is this week in Nairobi, Kenya for 4 days, representing Ireland at the World Trade Organisation talks, and a related meeting of the E.U. Foreign Affairs Council.

Minister English is the first Irish Minister to visit Kenya following the opening of the Irish Embassy in Nairobi in 2014. Ireland’s Ambassador is Dr Vincent O Neill. While in Nairobi, in addition to attending the E.U. Foreign Affairs Council and the World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference, Minister English will meet the Irish community in Kenya, Irish and International NGOs, visit projects supported by the Irish Aid programme and facilitate contacts between Irish and Kenyan Business organisations and companies.

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is the global international organisation dealing with the rules of trade between nations. It has 162 members, with 2 new members, Afghanistan and Liberia acceding to membership at the talks this week. The WTO accounts for about 95% of world trade. Over 20 other countries are negotiating membership. The WTO agreements are negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business. Its main function is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.

Speaking before his departure, Minister English stated: “This week in Nairobi, from an Irish perspective, we hope to see advancement on a key element of the Doha Development Agenda of the WTO. We will be working towards the conclusion of an important Sectoral Agreements namely the Information Technology Agreement and progress on the Environmental Goods Agreement. These are important sectoral trade deals for Ireland and Irish based firms in the technology sector stand to gain by tariff reductions. “


English confirms €49,500 capital funding boost for Tourism in Meath

Food, Funding, Heritage, Meath, Tourism

5,000 years of innovation and food production in Co. Meath will be
celebrated with a €49,500 capital investment in ‘Ireland’s Ancient’s
Eats’, Co. Meath’s new attraction on the Ireland’s Ancient East
tourism trail, which serves as an East coast counter balance to the
hugely success Wild Atlantic Way on the West coast.

The new project will provide a rich and immersive experience based on
the history and heritage of food in the Boyne Valley. Visitors will
learn about the timeline of Irish food from ancient times, the story
of farming in an Irish context and will gain insight into ‘old school’
traditional methods of food production. They will also take part in
the cooking and consumption of locally-sourced traditional food.
Project elements include the refurbishment of a building into a
visitor reception facility, reconstruction of a ‘fulacht fiadh’
(outdoor oven), landscaping and furnishings.

“This capital funding of €49,500 from Government enhances the tourism
offering of Co. Meath.  It plays to our strengths as a centre of high
quality food, and reminds us of our rich history of food innovation
and food production dating back 5,000 years, as we embark on our
modern Boyne Valley Food Hub innovation project under the leadership
of Gary O’Meara in Meath Enterprise” stated Minister English.

English congratulates St. Patrick’s Classical School Navan on new classrooms

Education, Funding, Meath, Navan

“I would like to congratulate Colm O’Rourke, Principal and the Board
of Management of St. Patrick’s Classical School Navan on the official
opening of 3 new classrooms today by the Bishop of Meath Michael
Smith.  Today is a positive news day for the school and a tribute to
their hard work” local Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation
and Meath West Fine Gael T.D. Damien English has said.

“The new classrooms in Science, Music and Woodwork are a fantastic
addition to the range of services, and quality of teaching, that St.
Patrick’s Classical School offers the community of Navan and its
hinterland.  It is an honour to support the school as a local
Minister working in the Department of Education and Skills. I hope
to continue doing so into the future” Minister English concluded.

Government publishes ambitious Innovation Strategy – Innovation 2020: Excellence Talent Impact

Action Plan for Jobs, Biotech, I.T., Innovation, Jobs, Meath, Photonics, Research, Research and Innovation, Science, Skills, Startups, Wesmeath

The Minister  for Research, Innovation and Skills Damien English TD, together with the Taoiseach and the Minister for Jobs, today published Innovation 2020, Ireland’s 5-year strategy for research and development, science and technology.

The headline ambition of the Strategy is to increase total investment in R&D in Ireland to 2.5% of GNP. On current official projections, this would mean that over €5billion will be invested per year in R&D by the public and private sectors by 2020. This will represent almost doubling current levels of investment (€2.756billion in 2013).

Among the other ambitious targets to be delivered by the strategy are:

  • the number of research personnel in enterprise will be increased by 60% to 40,000
  • research masters and PhD enrolments will be increased by 30% to 2,250;
  • private investment of R&D performed in the public research system will be doubled
  • 40% increase in the share of PhD researchers transferring from SFI research teams to industry
  • Ireland’s participation in International Research Organisations will be expanded – we will apply for full membership of ELIXIR, and we will explore membership options for CERN and ESO
  • the network of Centres will be further developed, building critical mass and addressing enterprise needs;
  • a successor to the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions will be rolled out to include investment in the creation of new, and the maintenance and upgrading of existing, facilities and equipment;
  • €1.25bn funding under the EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020 will be drawn down;
  • a new Programme of Funding for Frontier Research will be introduced, providing resilience and responsiveness to meet new challenges or opportunities as they emerge;
  • challenge-centric research will be initiated to stimulate solutions-driven collaborations bringing together enterprise, higher education institutions and public sector to identify and address national challenges
  • horizon-scanning – in the coming years a formal horizon-scanning exercise will be undertaken to identify areas of strategic commercial opportunity for Irish-based enterprises. This process will feed into the next research prioritisation exercise in 2018
  • international benchmarking – a series of structures will be put in place to benchmark Ireland’s performance in these areas against other comparable economies, and develop steps to improve our comparative performance

Launching the report, Minister of State for Research Innovation and Skills, Damien English TD said: “Developing the talent of our population is an underlying aim of Innovation 2020 and will be critical to the successful realisation of our national vision, giving Ireland the capacity to exploit opportunities both established and emerging. Our success in delivering on our vision will depend on our people – undertaking the research, working in and creating successful enterprises, and contributing to the society in which we live. We will support the full continuum of talent development from primary level through to Postdoctoral research and from frontier research across all disciplines to the practical application and the successful deployment of that talent and research in driving innovation in enterprises and public services.”

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD said:

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD said:

Welcoming the launch of the strategy, Professor Mark WJ Ferguson, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “I welcome the new strategy Innovation 2020 which highlights the importance of scientific research and innovation to all aspects of Ireland’s future and which confirms the Government’s commitment to increase both public and private investment in this area. Innovation 2020 builds on the considerable past successes and outlines some ambitious new plans such as challenge based funding. Science, innovation and technology are driving rapid global changes and the world is becoming more competitive. Ireland needs to continue to push forward: be the creators and owners of new ideas and innovations, upskill our people, strengthen and future proof our economy and society. Implementation of Innovation 2020 will allow us to do that: excellence, talent and impact.”

Fall of 36.5% in Meath Live Register as local economy strengthens – English

Action Plan for Jobs, Budget 2016, Business, Jobs, Meath, Navan, Startups

Fine Gael TD for Meath West, Damien English, has said that the steady reduction in the number of people signing on the Live Register in Meath is strengthening the growing local economy.

“The latest CSO data shows that the Live Register in Meath has fallen by 36.5% since the launch of the Action Plan for Jobs in 2012, while the national unemployment rate is now 8.9%.

“We are seeing economic progress, with over 135,000 more people at work, but we cannot take for granted that stability and recovery will continue. It is also important that we ensure the recovery continues to spread to all parts of the country, including here in Meath.

“A drop in the number of people signing on the Live Register is very positive and highlights the growth in the local economy. More people in work creates the resources to cut taxes for working people and invest in better services.

“It is important that jobs are created that pay more than welfare and where hard work is rewarded. Fine Gael has a plan to ensure that parents earning the minimum wage receive a top-up to encourage them to enter the work-force. This move will also support small local businesses.

“Plans are also in place to eliminate the USC during the term of the next Government. This harsh tax, introduced by Fianna Fáil, is a burden on workers and I have been working for some time on behalf of the people of Meath to get rid of it.

“This Government will work to keep the economic recovery going, which helps to provide better services for all of society. The Regional Action Plan for Jobs is being rolled out to drive further job creation in Meath and I am optimistic that the numbers signing onto the Live Register will continue to fall as the Government continues to implement our plan.”

5 years ago today FF introduced USC. FG will abolish it – English

Budget 2016, Business, Jobs, Meath, Wesmeath
Five years on from the introduction of the USC by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael is on course to abolish the punitive tax according to Fine Gael TD for Meath West and Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English

“Five years ago the country was at its lowest ebb. The IMF had taken over the running of our economy. For those left in employment, Fianna Fáil introduced the Universal Social Charge which saw people’s take home pay severely reduced.

“Five years on Fianna Fáil has shown that when push comes to shove, it has no intention of reducing the impact of the USC on taxpayers. In the recent alternative budget presented by Fianna Fáil it refused to drop the main rate of USC on hard pressed low and middle income earners. They also voted to oppose cuts to the USC introduced by the Government in the last two budgets. In doing so they have reinforced their reputation as the high tax/high spend party.

“This Government has reduced the rate of USC on low and middle income earners and we will get rid of it over the lifetime of the next government, providing that our finances allow for it. We are committed to abolishing the USC because we implicitly understand that the sustainable reduction of our high taxes is good for our economy. Lower taxes support jobs and high taxes kill jobs. That’s a fact. Fianna Fáil doesn’t know where to start when it comes to job creation as evidenced by their lack of a jobs policy.  

“In January, taxpayers will see a reduction in their USC for the second consecutive year. We have consciously reduced the tax burden because people in this country pay too much tax.
“Five years on from the introduction of the USC we are seeing economic progress, with over 135,000 more people at work, but we cannot take for granted that stability and recovery will continue.

“The next election will be about who can be trusted to keep the recovery going, based on stability and progress as opposed to instability and chaos. We cannot go back to the same old Fianna Fáil who wrecked the economy, have learned nothing from the past and still has no plan to create jobs or ensure our economic recovery.”

Gael Form Ltd from Meath takes Grand Prix Award at the 2015 Bank of Ireland Startup Awards

Business, Meath, Research and Innovation, Skills, Startups
Grand Prix Winner: Pictured at the Bank of Ireland Startup Awards are Minister Damian English with the Bank of Ireland  Grand Prix Startup Award winners Charlie McCarron and Colm Griffin from Gael Form Ltd, Ashbourne , Co Meath with Liam McLoughlin, Chief Executive Retail Ireland at Bank of Ireland.

Grand Prix Winner: Pictured at the Bank of Ireland Startup Awards are Minister Damian English with the Bank of Ireland Grand Prix Startup Award winners Charlie McCarron and Colm Griffin from Gael Form Ltd, Ashbourne , Co Meath with Liam McLoughlin, Chief Executive Retail Ireland at Bank of Ireland. won Innovative Startup of the Year Award

Gael Form Ltd from Meath has won the Grand Prix Startup of the Year Award at the Bank of Ireland Startup Awards 2015. Gael Form Ltd was also awarded the gold award in the Service Startup of the Year category, at the awards ceremony which took place in November in Croke Park in Dublin. Special Guest on the night was Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation and local Meath West T.D. Damien English. who presented the award. also from Meath won the gold award in the Innovative Startup of the Year Award category.

Established in 2012, the Startup Awards recognise innovative, successful and aspirational Irish start-up companies who have launched their businesses in the last three years. This year, awards were presented to deserving winners across 11 categories including tech, retail, product and innovation with gold, silver and bronze winners been awarded in each category.