English welcomes halving of unemployment since 2008

Action Plan for Housing, Action Plan for Jobs, Apprenticeships, Business, I.T., Innovation, Jobs, Meath, Navan, North Meath, Rebuilding Ireland, Research and Innovation, Skills, Startups

Monday, 10th October 2016

Local Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal and Fine Gael T.D. for
Meath West Damien English has welcomed the recent news from the CSO
that unemployment has effectively halved since the financial crisis
hit Ireland in 2008.

However he said continued effort was needed locally in Meath and
nationally to reach full employment with a constant focus on skills,
innovation and the importance of local SMEs as well as FDI.

“In Meath our native agri-food sector, Boyne Valley Food Series, Boyne
Valley Food Hub and Tourism sector are all strong local assets for
more local and sustainable jobs” Minister English stated.

“Now standing at 286,490, the unadjusted Live Register has dropped
below 300,000 for the first time since 2008. This is a year on year
decrease of 13.92%. It’s further evidence that good progress is being
made in tackling joblessness and helping people back into work.

Three major milestones have now been passed since Fine Gael entered
Government in 2011:  1) the Live Register falling below 300,000 2)
unemployment falling from its peak of 15% to below 8%, and 3) the
number of people employed exceeding two million, all for the first
time in eight years” Minister English stated.

“To reach full employment we must continue one-to-one engagements with
jobseekers; we must keep talking to business people about the barriers
in creating jobs, making work pay through sustainable wage increases
and finally tax reductions that also make work pay and welfare less
attractive. Developing new policies, investment and infrastructure
across the whole of Government in education, training, housing and
childcare all depends on reaching full employment” concluded Minister
English.

ENDS

Dáil debate contribution on Apple Tax

Business, Speeches

Minister of State at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Damien English):

I thank the Acting Chairman for the opportunity to address this motion. I support the Government’s decision to appeal the Commission’s ruling that Ireland provided unlawful State aid to Apple, which was not the case and is untrue. There was no proof in the ruling, yet the position taken was damaging. As such, it was imperative that the Government made its decision in a strong, considered and timely manner. I welcome the opportunity to debate it now and for everyone to put his or her thoughts on the record.

In a modern and fast-moving world, the Commission’s decision does not constitute sensible economics. Rather, it constitutes an attempt by the Commission, an appointed body as opposed to an elected one, to meddle in the national taxation affairs of a sovereign member state and of its people. Taxation is not an area of competency of the EU under the treaties, each of which was voted for by the Irish people in a referendum. The European Commission is meant to serve the interests of the EU as a whole, which is how it has generally defended its behaviour, but the EU’s very existence is meant to serve the needs of the member states, not to control or replace them.

It is important that Ireland remains in control of its tax and economic affairs. Having spent time in the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, I see the benefits of being in control of our tax and economic affairs when it comes to winning jobs.

The politics of populism and protest from the fringes of the Opposition has already pocketed the €13 billion from Apple, adding some €6 billion in interest, to apply it as the magic formula to cure all our social issues. The politics of populism is spreading false hope, sowing the seeds of resentment and, ultimately, damaging politics and democracy. This is the wrong approach and one I oppose.

Earlier, a speaker claimed the Government was stealing this money. This kind of language is just being used to get news coverage and headlines. It is not helping Ireland’s recovery or job creation. The people have already copped on to this behaviour. Any Member who has spent time knocking on doors and talking to people will have realised the people understand what is at play and what the Government must do. The people understand what the majority of political parties which have been in government for a long number of years are doing to drive the country’s economic affairs. They will not buy into this populism of making grand statements in the Dáil, claiming that the Government is stealing money, just to get news coverage and headlines.

We need to maintain control over our economic affairs and taxation because we are a small island country off another island which is off the coast of Europe. We have few natural resources in the traditional sense. Yet, we are a magnet for indigenous and global business investment. Why? Why did IDA Ireland have its best year in 2015? Why did Apple decide to locate here in the 1980s? Why did Shire decide to create a new state-of-the-art biologics manufacturing campus in County Meath which it expects will lead to the creation of approximately 400 permanent jobs for the locality? Why did Facebook in April of this year begin construction on its newest data centre at Clonee, County Meath, a facility which will be the size of 14 Aviva Stadiums? Why are there 6,855 people employed in Meath in 164 companies supported by Enterprise Ireland in 2015?

It is because of our pro-enterprise environment, one of certainty and stability. That is why the Commission’s ruling going back over 25 years is a crazy decision. It is because we have a young, well-educated and flexible workforce. It is because we have an education system responsive to the needs of enterprise, one that is ever reforming and changing with new apprenticeships, traineeships, Springboard and other conversion courses to deal with the IT sector’s needs. It is because of our historic ties with Britain and that we are a bridge between America and the European Union. It is because of our vast global diaspora acting as unofficial ambassadors worldwide, spreading the message of how beneficial it is to locate business in Ireland. Finally, it is because of our taxation policy, one to which all major political parties have subscribed and respected while in government through the years.

It is also a taxation policy that the European Commission and others have tried to strike down, most recently in their response to the economic crisis. The Apple tax ruling by the European Commission is our biggest economic and sovereign challenge since the arrival of troika. It will have to be dealt with in the same way. Unless overturned, it is a challenge to our open global economy and Irish jobs. My personal view is that our position is correct, the Commission is wrong and we will win the appeal. Backing this position is backing Ireland in its hunt for the best of international capital, investment and jobs. Backing this position is backing Irish research, innovation and talent. Backing this position continues to create opportunities for all our people beyond what an island nation of ours could otherwise expect or hope.

All of our businesses can avail of our taxation system. It is fair, equal and transparent, a point on which Revenue has been clear. Ireland has over 180,000 direct jobs from foreign direct investment. Around them, there are 200,000 other jobs. The wage bill alone from the multinationals comes to over €9 billion a year, money which is spent in the economy. We have gone through a transformation over the past five years, winning back jobs that were lost in the construction sector. We are still not fully there as we still have high unemployment. We cannot rest for the next two years. To turn our backs on jobs and investment, to damage Ireland’s reputation and to cede control to others to dictate our economic policy and tax affairs is wrong for jobs and the future of this country.

Speech to Chambers Ireland Social Responsibility Awards, including Apple Tax.

Business, European issues, Housing and Urban Renewal, Meath, Research and Innovation, Science, Skills, Speeches, Wesmeath

Speech by Mr. Damien English T.D. Minister of State for Housing and Urban Renewal at Chambers Ireland Corporate Social Responsibility Awards 2016

Thursday 1st September

The Double Tree Hotel, Dublin 4.

Check Against Delivery

Ladies and Gentlemen. Good evening to you all.

I would like to thank Chambers Ireland and particularly Chief Executive Ian Talbot for your invitation to speak tonight.

My congratulations to your team Ian, and to Tina Roche and all at ‘Business in the Community Ireland’ for your initiative in promoting Corporate Social Responsibility in Ireland.

Nights like tonight are worth having. They reward effort, encourage excellence and highlight your work to new and wider audiences.

I am a big fan of CSR. In my previous role in the Department of Education I saw first-hand the benefits of companies getting involved in combating exclusion through programmes for literacy, numeracy and coding.

Tonight I have learnt even more about the great work that you do up and down the country.

Through your CSR you are contributing to the social recovery of Ireland, as well as our economic recovery.

For all of that, I want to sincerely THANK YOU.

I note that earlier in the year, at the launch of these awards, Gerard O’Neill of Amarach Research spoke about the link between CSR and Customer Relationship Management.

In Government we have many customers and many relationships to manage.

One main group of customers we have is you; Chambers Ireland member businesses. Both indigenous Irish and Multinational Companies.

Earlier this week the European Commission attempted to drive a wedge in our long standing relationship with you, by their ruling on Apple, and it would be remiss of me not to discuss this with you tonight.

The ruling is an attempt by the Commission – an appointed body, not an elected body, to meddle in the national taxation affairs of a sovereign member state.

The European Union draws it authority from the EU Treaties which were voted upon by the Irish people. The Irish people have not authorized the EU to look after our tax affairs.

It is important Ireland maintains control of its taxation and economic affairs, because we are a small island country, off another island, off the coast of Europe. We have few natural resources in the traditional sense.

And yet, we are a magnet for global investment. Why?

  • Because of our relationship with you and our pro enterprise environment – one of certainty and stability.
  • Because we have a young, well educated, and flexible workforce.
  • Because we have an education system responsive to the need of enterprise. One that is reforming and changing, with new apprenticeships and traineeships.
  • We have a historic friendship with Britain which will not diminish with Brexit.
  • We are a bridge between America and the European Union.
  • We have a vast global diaspora acting as unofficial ambassadors worldwide.
  • And finally, because of our taxation policy.

A taxation policy that all major political parties have bought into and respected whilst in Government through the years.

A taxation policy that the European Commission and others have tried to strike down, most recently in their response to the economic crisis.

The Apple tax ruling by the European Commission is our biggest economic and sovereign challenge since the arrival of the Troika.

Unless overturned, it is a challenge to our open global economy and Irish jobs. We cannot have CSR if we have no corporations.

Our position in Fine Gael is that we need to appeal the decision. I hope the Cabinet meeting tomorrow, and all elements of our Partnership Government, endorse this position.

My personal view is that we will make an appeal. Our position is right. The Commission is wrong. And I believe we will win the appeal.

On that note I want to thank Chambers Ireland for being one of the first organisations to call for an appeal.

You in Chambers Ireland know that backing this position is backing Ireland as a location for the best of international capital, investment and jobs.

Backing this position is backing Irish research, innovation and talent.

Backing this position continues to create opportunities for all of our people, beyond what an island nation of ours could otherwise expect or hope.

And backing this position is backing the members of Chambers Ireland.

To conclude, our relationship with Chambers Ireland can be described as a mutually beneficial one. Government needs your businesses to be viable and sustainable.

We need you to be profitable to pay tax and create jobs, to employ people that will drive your business forward.

In turn it is through your success in business and your people that allows you to drive your CSR programmes forward.

All of this is at stake if we do not defend our historic open and transparent corporate tax regime.

Finally ladies and gentlemen, that is the serious stuff out of the way. Congratulations to everyone who has won an award so far, I know there are more to come.

I would like to hand you back over to our host Mary Kennedy.

ENDS

Response to Fintan O’Toole and the importance of FDI to Ireland

Business, I.T., Innovation, Research, Research and Innovation, Science, Skills

I was somewhat surprised to learn that Fintan O’Toole takes his policy views from US talk Radio (I would have thought he was more a Guardian reader myself) but that probably explains why his view on foreign direct investment and Ireland’s industrial policy is so out of touch with reality.

As the economist Seamus Coffey recently argued elsewhere we need to kick back on ill informed taunts that Ireland is some kind of tax haven. Multinationals make a massive contribution to the Irish economy.   According to a recent report by Grant Thornton, there are 1,033 overseas companies operating in Ireland, employing over 161,000 people, spending €24bn, paying Irish staff €8bn in wages and generating €122bn in exports.

The taxation of multinationals is based on a fundamental principle: corporate profit-taxing rights are granted on the source principle. Put simply countries can tax the profits from operations located in their countries. Although some of the world’s largest companies have operations in Ireland, we can only tax them on the profit they generate from their activities in Ireland, which we do.

The issue being debated in the US at the moment however relates to a loop hole in the US tax code which allows ‘deferral’ of corporate income taxes, and allows US multinationals to delay certain tax payments until the profits are transferred to US-incorporated entities in their corporate structure. As Seamus Coffey pointed out a result of the deferral provisions in the US tax code, some companies create an artificial division between their US and non-US source profits and give the appearance of very low tax rates on their non-US profits. The reality is that most of the profit is sourced in the US, and the companies owe US corporate income tax on those profits. It is not the case that the profits are untaxed.

In plain English we aren’t the problem; the US tax code is. Even the US Treasury Secretary has written to the EU Commission stating that while they don’t collect the tax until repatriation the US system of deferral “does not give EU Member States the legal right to tax this income.”

Ireland’s 12.5% corporate tax rate is a fundamental part of our offering to multinationals but equally important are access to EU markets and most critically talent.  IMD ranks Ireland’s educational system as being amongst the top ten in the world. We rank number one in the world for the availability of competent senior managers and flexibility of our workforce. If (for example) you want to find people who really understand pan-European operations, Shared Services or Compliance you come to Ireland.

Ireland’s big idea isn’t attracting foreign direct investment its building Irish capabilities. Foreign direct investment is one of the key ways we build real capabilities.

Couple of practical examples Dublin is known as the shared services capital of Europe. We have built that expertise over many years. We are now applying that expertise in shared services to the business of Government. The adoption of Shared services by the Irish Government is core to public sector modernisation and delivering better and more cost effective public services.

Another example the Tyndall Institute which has built up a huge expertise in working through working on research projects with some of the world’s leading high tech multinationals. It is now partnering with Teagasc to apply that learning to developing the food sector in key areas like traceability. In short we are using capabilities developed with multinationals to deliver better Government and develop Irish industry.

My work as Minister of State was focused on making sure we continued to build Ireland’s capabilities through a new national Innovation Strategy and a new national Skills Strategy. Both strategies are fundamentally about making sure we have the skills and capabilities to compete in a rapidly changing world. Both strategies were developed in partnership with the key stakeholders and can only be delivered by a partnership between Government, Industry and Academia. The innovation strategy offers us the potential to use the Irish research community to build cross industry collaboration between some of the world’s leading companies here to really drive innovation. The Skills strategy will ensure we have the highly skilled workforce necessary for the incremental innovation needed to stay competitive.

The task of the last Government was to stabilise the public finances and start getting people back to work.  This gives us the resources to future proof the Irish economy by investing in education, research & innovation. It gives us the resources to turn our economic growth into a social recovery by investing in new and reformed public services, and ensuring everyone has the opportunity to benefit from a return to growth.

The success of the last Government (and we had some pretty major successes despite what our critics say) provides us as a nation with the time and space to think about the future we want for our children not just how do we pay the national debt. We now for the first time in almost ten years have real choices. We can start to think about the big ideas that will shape Ireland’s future. That is a task not just for Government but for all of us. We have a second chance of succeeding as a nation. I hope we use it well.

Discussing Fine Gael’s Long Term Economic Plan on LMFM today

Action Plan for Jobs, Agher, Apprenticeships, Athboy, Ballinlough, Ballivor, Bohermeen, Budget 2016, Business, Castlepollard, Clonard, Collinstown, Enfield, Innovation, Jobs, Johnstown, Killyon, Longwood, Meath, Navan, North Meath, Oldcastle, Summerhill, Trim, Wesmeath

Discussing Fine Gael’s Long Term Economic Plan on LMFM earlier today, listen below:

English launches Mid East Action Plan for Jobs to help create 25,000 more jobs in Meath, Kildare and Wicklow

Action Plan for Jobs, Business, Jobs, Meath, Research and Innovation, Skills, Startups, Wesmeath

Fine Gael TD for Meath West and Minister of State at the Department of
Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Damien English has jointly launched
the Action Plan for Jobs for the Mid East region today in Navan.
Minister English, who was joined by the Minister for Jobs, Richard
Bruton TD said that the plan will help create 25,000 more jobs in
Meath, Kildare and Wicklow.

Minister English welcomed the particular focus in this plan that
supports the progression of the Boyne Valley Food Hub in Meath by
Meath Enterprise, Meath County Council and the Institute of
Technologies.  This will serve to enhance the region’s capacity for
food innovation, research and supporting food related industry

“The Mid East Action Plan for Jobs will seek to build on the existing
strengths and assets of each region to maximise enterprise growth and
job creation. The plan also includes investigating the feasibility of
establishing a ‘Foundation for Entrepreneurship’ in County Meath in
collaboration with relevant stakeholders. This would be a very welcome
development for the locality with respect to developing the
entrepreneurship environment here.

“This Government is committed to keeping the recovery going and to
ensuring that it spreads throughout the country. Based on the success
nationally of the Action Plan for Jobs, and the strong buy in to this
process by locally based stakeholders, it is realistic to target
25,000 additional jobs in Meath, Kildare and Wicklow by 2020.

“This means 25,000 extra pay packets coming into communities and
25,000 individuals and families who can afford to lead better lives.
The aim of the national Action Plan for Jobs is to help enterprises to
create employment in all regions of the country. Over 135,000 jobs
have been added to the economy since its launch in February 2012.

“Meath and the Mid East region, with its young and growing population,
highly educated and professionally experienced workforce has the
potential to be one of the fastest growing economic regions in the
country.  Its people and its proximity to Dublin gives the region an
opportunity to offer a world class location which has all of the
advantages of a capital city but with the added advantage of a
significantly lower cost base.

“The key challenge for us in Meath and the Mid East region is to
create additional jobs within the region so that more people who live
in the region can work here.

“Fine Gael has a clear plan to keep the recovery going. More people in
work creates the resources to cut taxes for working people and invest
in better services, improving living standards for all. This will
ensure more people feel the benefits of a recovering economy in their
own lives. The next election will be a choice between those with a
plan to keep the recovery going, or those who will put it at risk
through instability and chaos.

“The Government has committed up to €250 million in funding over the
next five years to support the Regional Action Plans.  I am confident
that the mid east regional Action Plan for Jobs will deliver for Co.
Meath.”

Increase in pay packets for many on first pay day of 2016 – English

Budget 2016, Business, Jobs, Meath, Wesmeath
Minister of State at the Department of Jobs and Fine GaelTD for Meath West, Damien English, has said that the USC changes introduced in Budget 2016 will be evident to thousands of people who are getting paid today (Friday) for the first time in 2016.

“Budget 2016 introduced a cut to the USC for low to middle income earners from 7% to 5.5%, reducing the tax rate to below 50%. The entry point into USC has also been increased to €13,000, exempting 90,000 low earners from the USC. All of these changes came into effect on 1st January and will be visible in pay packets this month.

“These changes to the USC, which will help spread the benefits of the recovery and will ensure that hard work pays, were opposed by Fianna Fáil; the high tax party.

“Since the launch of the Action Plan for Jobs, over 135,000 jobs have been created. More people in work create the resources to cut taxes for working people and to invest in better services.

“Fine Gael has committed to eliminating the USC altogether during the term of the next Government. We have a long term plan to keep the recovery going and will continue to make responsible decisions to keep the economy strong.

“USC changes introduced in Budget 2016 will make a small but significant difference to workers in all parts of the country. The Irish people have worked too hard to get to where we are, we cannot go back. Fine Gael is committed to getting people back to work and will use the resources created to reduce taxes and invest in vital services.”

ENDS

387 additional new Enterprise Ireland jobs in Meath in 2015, an increase of 6% on the previous year.

Action Plan for Jobs, Business, Jobs, Meath, Wesmeath

“In Meath, 6,855 people are employed in the 164 companies supported by the Department of Jobs, through Enterprise Ireland.

“These companies created 387 additional new jobs in Meath in 2015, an increase of 6% on the previous year.

“Over 2,050 additional new EI jobs have been created in Meath since the launch of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs. This compares to over 800 job losses in the last three years of Fianna Fáil’s term in Government (2008 – 2010).

“This job creation is having an important knock on impact. For every job created in an EI supported company, it is estimated that one additional job is created elsewhere in the economy, so approximately another 2,000 indirect jobs have been created in Meath since the launch of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs.

Enterprise Ireland figures show that Govt’s job creation plan is working – English

Action Plan for Jobs, Business, Jobs, Meath, Wesmeath

Damien English, Fine Gael TD for Meath West and Minister of State at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, has said that Enterprise Ireland figures released today (Tuesday) show that the Government’s job creation plan is working.

“Enterprise Ireland (EI) supported companies added just over 10,000 net new jobs to the economy in 2015. This brings total employment in those companies to 192,223, which is a record high for Enterprise Ireland.

“These figures just describe the EI job creation success. In total, over 135,000 new jobs have been added to the economy since the launch of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs. Unemployment has now dropped to 8.8% according to the CSO, and we are in the process of reducing the high tax burden that Fianna Fáil introduced to pay for their mistakes.

“By contrast, instead of learning from the economic crash, Fianna Fáil wasted four and a half years in opposition. Unbelievably, the party that destroyed 300,000 jobs still has no job creation plan.

“Compared to the housing led bubble created by Fianna Fáil, when Fine Gael was last in Government, we created a lean export-led economy that was creating 1,000 jobs a week. This is exactly what we have been working hard to recreate over the last five years. Today’s figures show that this is working; in net terms, Irish exporting companies have 10,169 extra people working with them compared with one year ago.

“I would like to pay tribute to the hard work of Irish businesses in starting up, scaling up and growing their businesses. The jobs they have created in this country over the last five years have been invaluable to the economic recovery and have ensured that young people once again have opportunities here.

“Today’s EI results, also confirm that this is not just a Dublin based recovery. Almost two thirds of the new jobs created were outside Dublin, and all of the regions recorded increases in full-time employment over the period.  We have a plan to continue this regional growth; our Regional Action Plans for Jobs are designed to increase employment in every region by 10-15% between now and 2020.

“Fine Gael has a plan to keep the recovery going and ensure that everyone can feel the benefit. Crucial to this is continued job creation. More people in work creates the resources to cut taxes for working people and invest in better services, improving living standards for all. We cannot go back to the same old Fianna Fáil who wrecked the economy, have learned nothing from the past and are still the high tax party. We will finish the job and replace all the jobs lost in the crash to ensure a better quality of life for all.”