A Ceann Comharaile, I welcome the opportunity to speak on this Private Members Motion. We have in this chamber over the years paused and taken stock of where we are as an economy and where we want to go. I refer to Taoiseach Sean Lemass and T.K. Whittaker in the 1950’s and their efforts to open up the Irish economy. I refer to Alan Dukes and my own party in the 1980’s with their adoption of the Tallaght Strategy to support a minority Fianna Fail government in regaining control of the Public Finances. I do feel that this type of time for reflection and planning for the future is once again upon us.

The late John Kelly T.D. once drew analogies of the Irish economy being akin to a sow being slowly devoured by her piglets, each of her offspring gorging themselves with no thought to the future. We have moved on from rural imagery in this country, a similar analogy for today might be that of our obsession with style over substance, quick fix solution. It can all be sorted out by cosmetic surgery, no need to deal with the fundamentals.

Many members here tonight have outlined the job losses in their constituencies. I too can add to that with significant Clare job losses at Aer Lingus, Tyco Electronics, John Crane Ltd and Thompson Financial. We have seen companies going on three day weeks, unsure of what their future is. All this has culminated in a twelve month increase from 4249 to 5072 on the Clare live register from Feb 2007 to Feb 2008, an increase of 19.4%. We have not seen this rate of increase for a very long time and there is nothing to indicate that either the rate or overall number will abate in the near future.

Our regional economic balance has also been severely undermined, for instance with the Governments decision not to use its 25% stake in Aer Lingus to stop the recent transfer of the Shannon-Heathrow slots. In Clare we had much fanfare recently of a €50 million marketing package to compensate for that loss. Unfortunately the ‘Emperor has no Clothes’ and this package when analysed would appear to be actually €3 million.

This I feel actually gets to the heart of the matter as to how this Government does its business and has implications on the matter we debate tonight. Presentation at any given time is paramount with this Government. There is no analysis, no consideration and no planning for the future. That approach is fine for the immediate and will get you from election to election, but when history is written, when your contribution is analysed the conclusion will be that never had we such opportunities that were ultimately squandered.

We see that our Competitiveness internationally has fallen from 5th in 2000 to 22nd in 2007, primarily because of high costs, inflation and poor infrastructure. Our economic growth in that period has shifted from export-led and productivity-led growth to domestically driven growth, dependent on new jobs in construction and public services. Ironically the swift downturn in house building has a significant impact on the economy just as it did while it raged upwards, in that public services have to be paid for from a dwindling revenue. Our numbers working in the Public Service have increased by 160,000 since 2000 without a discernable improvement in the service provided.

We see small and start-up companies smothered by Government imposed red tape, required to provide endless reams to quangos established over the last number of years, everything from monthly statistics to outlandish standards which rarely apply to Government or its official arms itself. We see the same information demanded numerous times from Government agencies that don’t talk to each other and basically justify their existence with a mountain of useless paperwork.

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can be the engines of job growth in our future economy. One of the positives of the last number of years of our Economic Development has been the establishment of an entrepreneurial culture. We never had this before and it would be a travesty to destroy it at birth. We need to set ambitious targets for reduction in the costs of regulatory compliance for business.

The Government will face political choices in relation to our Economy over the coming months. It will quite simply have two options.

It can make the easy one of pulling back on our commitments to infrastructure development, suspending our capital commitments to Broadband, Roads, Public Transport and Education. This can be dressed upped in a palatable way by the army of advisors and consultants so beloved of our Cabinet in the short term but ultimately following this course we stand to loose an awful lot more. Our competitiveness will continue to slide; we will remain at a competitive disadvantage internationally.

The second choice is more difficult and needs to begin with an honest acknowledgement by the Government of where we now find ourselves economically.

The Government need to embrace a public sector reform agenda.

The Government need to make an explicit commitment to and introduce the necessary reforms to ensure swifter delivery of our national infrastructure, particularly in communications and transport.

The Government must move beyond the rhetoric of the knowledge economy to an actual knowledge economy. This will involve supporting investment in next generation broadband networks and not merely maintaining its regulatory role.

Ireland needs to enter a new phase of economic growth, one where we regain our international competitiveness. To return to the forefront of international trade, we must display a singular commitment to promoting a competitive business environment, a responsive public sector and a political system that can make decisions.

I support this motion.

Minister Michael Martin Response

I welcome the opportunity to address the House on this subject and to recall and articulate the substantial achievement of modern Ireland in transforming the economy and increasing competitiveness. I note Deputy Varadkar asked that we not indulge in giving a history lesson tonight. He then proceeded to give a very unusual version of history, criticising the great Seán Lemass, who is widely regarded by historians as the architect of a modern, open, export-led economy. He moved quickly through the barren years that Fine Gael had spent in Opposition seeking to convince the House that this was the period which actually turned the economy around. We shall leave that to historians to discuss, perhaps, at a later date. We need balance and perspective in terms of our assessment of the economy. We are very clear as regards both our achievements and, indeed, the challenges of the future. I shall reiterate to the House that the Government’s objective is to build and protect employment. That has been at the top of our agenda for the last ten years. For Deputy Ring or anybody else to say it has not, is pure nonsense. The reality is that the employment performance of the last decade has been extraordinary. Even in 2007 alone, more than 80,000 jobs were created, an extraordinary amount.
Deputy Michael Ring: The Minister is seeking to disguise the fact, in talking about the existing companies, that they are taking on no one.
Deputy Micheál Martin: With respect, those are the facts. The number of jobs created in the last three years is very significant. We have moved from a workforce of one million, 12 years ago, to more than two million now. Yet all the debate and the rhetoric would suggest none of that happened and that it was all a mirage. We need some reality and perspective. I certainly accept reasoned debate as regards the challenges that we face globally and domestically, because Ireland is now a different economy from what it was ten years ago – or when Fine Gael was last in office. I accept that when Fine Gael was last in office, during difficult times, there were very few jobs to compensate for those that were lost. However, in recent times we have been able to create jobs and through our policies to create the environment to facilitate job creation, both indigenously and through foreign direct investment. Neither can any responsible Government pretend that no company will every close, that there will not be economic churn, or that jobs will never be lost. Jobs will continue to be lost in certain sectors and we have to win them in others. That is the challenge Ireland faces as a country. We cannot stand apart, either, from global shifts and movements. Globally, the past ten to 15 years has been a dramatic time. I noted that a majority in the long list of countries cited by Deputy Varadkar were what we would term emerging economies – in terms of China, India, the eastern European economies and many more. The Government will continue to work to replace jobs and, above all, to equip people with the necessary skills to deliver employment opportunities.
There is no basis for complacency about the economy and we shall remain vigilant. We shall continue to invest in the critical areas in the context of the national development plan. I would caution the Opposition, however, against dismissing the underlying strength of the economy and ignoring the major new job creation that has occurred over the decade which means the economy is a on a different plateau relative to where it was ten years ago. To refuse to acknowledge the positive structural changes in the economy in the last decade is to completely opt out of constructive debate. That is Fine Gael’s choice, but it is not ours on this side of the House.
I do not wish to get into a negative type of debate this evening. That appears to have marked quite a number of the opening speeches we have heard in this debate. We want to work on policies that will position the country to take advantage of global upturns in the months and years to come. The reality is that the strength and resilience of the economy has enabled us to dramatically raise living standards and improve life chances for our citizens. In these two areas our record of achievement is beyond question. The United Nations ranked Ireland as No. 4 on the OECD’s quality of life index in 2007 and we now have one of the highest per capita income levels in the European Union. We have a well educated workforce, and an environment which encourages work and entrepreneurship. We have already embarked on the next phase of economic development with unprecedented levels of investment in science, infrastructure and skills.
Let no one talk to me about paying lip service to science and technology. I recall when I was Minister for Education in 1997 that the Department’s budget for research was nil. It has restarted the PRTLI programme and it was this Government that started the Science Foundation Ireland programme, which in an unprecedented way catapulted research to a primary position within the political agenda. It has invested hugely in the physical capacity of fourth level and in programming funding for science, particularly in terms of biotechnology and ICTs, the two fundamental pillars of Science Foundation Ireland. We continue to do that and last year we published an all-embracing comprehensive science technology innovation strategy, which will have an €8.2 billion budget under the national development plan. That is, again, to effect a quantum leap forward in terms of our performance in research and development, and ultimately is a key pillar underpinning competitiveness into the future, in terms we can maintain as regards jobs in high-end manufacturing, services and across a whole range of other areas.
The profile of employment has changed. We now have more and better paying jobs. We have a growing services sector, with a very strong exports performance. That is an aspect of the economy which has not been profiled, perhaps, to the extent it should have been. It has been getting some attention, however, in terms of the dramatic growth in services in recent times. Clearly, there are external challenges to be faced, not least as regards the whole financial situation internationally, liquidity issues and the difficulties in both the US and UK economies, which are two significant markets for Ireland. Ireland’s growth rate will clearly moderate this year, but let us not forget that GDP expanded at an annual average rate of about 6.5% over the period 1997-2007, and this has facilitated a substantial improvement in living standards. Only last month the Lisbon Council in Brussels and the Centre for European Reform ranked Ireland highly in their annual reports, reporting a strengthened performance on the previous year. They noted that Ireland’s growth potential was far from exhausted. The 2007 business environment ranking of The Economist intelligence unit placed Ireland in tenth place globally, out of 82 countries, naming it as one of the most attractive business locations in the world.
In the World Economic Forum, WEF, ranking Ireland has dropped in position from the stellar heights of 2000 when we had super national growth rates. The growth rates of over 6.5% could not be sustained on an ongoing basis, yet we are still ranked among the top ten smaller economies in the world. I also want to mention the capital access index, CAI, drawn up by the Milken Institute, based in Santa Monica. This is a publicly supported independent US economic think tank, whose capital access index scores the ability of entrepreneurs to gain access to financial capital in countries across the globe. The CAI measures the breadth, depth and vitality of capital markets and also openness in providing access without discrimination – a measure of global progress in the democratisation of capital. The 2007 index ranks 122 countries based on macro-economic and institutional environment, financial and banking institutions, international funding, bond and equity market development and alternative capital sources. Again, the key point is that Ireland has performed well, securing sixth place overall in 2007 – an improvement on the 2005 and 2006 rankings of tenth and ninth place, respectively. Ireland also tops the ranking for financial and banking institutions – based on the level of involvement of deposit-taking institutions in financing businesses. Our achievement in this domain is reflected not only in the effectiveness of our banking institutions but also in the Government initiative through Enterprise Ireland, namely, the access to venture capital scheme. That is a practical measure we decided on more than two years ago, which seeded the 2007-12 venture capital programme. The Government, through Enterprise Ireland, injected a new round of €175 million in venture capital funding and to date this has leveraged about €560 million of the funding being raised against a target of €860 million over that period to 2012 – and many of the funds have been established. When this is combined with some of the budget initiatives we introduced in terms of small business, we are making a difference to the capacity of indigenous enterprise to access venture capital.
I am not saying we are finished yet. We are looking at new opportunities for enhancing that access to venture capital in this country into the future. In terms of Ireland’s trade performance, the value of our merchandise exports in 2007 reached €88.6 billion, up €1.8 billion on 2006, equivalent to a 2.1% rise. I noted earlier that services is a key sector. It has risen dramatically between 2003-07, from about €37.1 billion to €64.7 billion, an increase of nearly 75%. It has been an extraordinary story and the value of services exports represents about 42% of our total export trade now, and is growing. Some economists estimate that it will reach 50% by 2010-11. Again, in terms of the future, we have put together a working group to look at the services sector in this country and how it may more effectively be internationalised, and enhance its contribution to Ireland’s economic growth.
We have made provision in the budget to account for the economic growth rate but global uncertainty will affect the projections of economic growth. We are not immune from global developments. It is important that we focus on the fundamentals of the Irish economy, which remain sound and which will shore up our capacity to respond to the challenges that exist.
The slowdown in the domestic housing and construction sector has been a significant factor in the moderation of growth this year. We are moving towards a more sustainable level of house building. We could not have continued to build over 90,000 houses every year. Approximately 48,000 houses are expected to be built in 2008. This does not represent a collapse but indicates a significant move back from 90,000. It presents an opportunity to refocus capital and funding on enterprise, new technology companies and value-added food companies, as has been stated. We will work on this through Enterprise Ireland with a view to convincing people to invest in new enterprises. We must be honest about the fact that the property sector in recent years was drawing an increasing amount of capital away from other productive sectors of the economy.
The good news that arises from the considerable activity in the construction sector is that we have witnessed the growth of a significant number of high-quality construction companies. The challenge for us now is to internationalise some of these companies, export construction products and services and avail of the various opportunities that present themselves, such as the Olympic Games in London in 2012. The international business community will be looking for professional services that our construction sector should be well placed to provide.
We believe our medium-term growth prospects remain favourable. The Minister for Finance has made it clear we will keep an eye on the public finances, which process we have already begun in the context of the most recent budget by way of ensuring that fiscal measures will remain a core part of our overall strategy. Current spending will rise moderately this year.
Deputy Varadkar indicated he wants further curbing of public expenditure. He clearly wants to slash it but we believe that rather than adopting a slash-and-burn approach, we need to moderate current expenditure and not decrease capital expenditure. Capital expenditure will increase by approximately 12% this year and it will be used to deliver on the national development plan across all the areas of infrastructure.
This year will be different to last year in terms of employment. We will not enjoy the same level of employment growth as last year. We have forecast this and said so at the beginning of the year in light of the budget forecasts. Over recent years, there has been a significant churn in employment. The Opposition has mentioned various companies in this regard. We could also mention companies that have been established in the past two to three years. Only yesterday I was in Dungarvan, where an American multinational, Lancaster Laboratories, has decided to locate so as to have a footprint in Europe. It took over an indigenous company that has been in the region since 1986. There are currently 100 jobs and 100 more are to be created.
Genzyme, a major biotechnology company in Waterford, is to spend a further €113 million and increase its employment level in Waterford to above 600. Earlier this week I visited Thermo King in Galway, where a research and development centre has been established, again with a view to underpinning manufacturing jobs. The technology available in Thermo King to produce next-generation green refrigeration products for trucks is probably the best around. It is extraordinary. The company is a subsidiary of one of the most successful companies in Europe, Ingersoll Rand.
We need to celebrate and talk up our technology a little more. We can overdo the gloom and negativity in respect of the Irish economy and its performance. Zimmer Holdings, one of the most renowned manufacturers of medical devices for joints, including knee joints, which we will all need at some stage, is to locate in Shannon in County Clare, thus creating 250 high-quality jobs.
Investments have been made by Vistakon in Limerick, a great company that manufactures contact lenses. ChannelAdvisor Corporation has also announced jobs in Limerick. Jobs have also been created by Citco Fund Services in Cork and Service Source Europe in Dublin. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries has created jobs recently, again in Waterford. IBM has decided to establish Europe’s first cloud computing centre with the support of IDA Ireland in Mulhuddart. We are therefore going up the value chain and targeting companies, mandates and functions that will make a difference.
I set up the small business forum to create a new focus on small business. There are 800,000 people working in small businesses in our economy, which represents almost 50% of private sector employment. We received a significant number of recommendations on this and we are clearly focusing on indigenous and small countries to develop and internationalise them.
I mentioned our commitment to science and technology, research and development and the €8.2 billion to be allocated in the coming years. The good news on this is that we are making very rapid progress. On human resources, the number of employed researchers has risen dramatically since 2000 in parallel with the strong increases in investment in research and development. The proportion of full-time adjusted equivalent researchers per 1,000 in employment has risen significantly and is now in line with the EU average and only slightly below the OECD average. The increase in the number of researchers, including principal researchers and their teams, to realise the goals of our investment will continue.
Reference was made to the brain gain. We are in the business of procuring skills and we have a migration policy that facilitates high skilled labourers, particularly world-class researchers to attract them into Ireland with good, interesting and well-funded projects. At the close of 2007, there were over 400 different companies collaborating with scientists supported by Science Foundation Ireland, SFI. Some 42% of SFI-backed scientists were collaborating with industry.
Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland and SFI all meet under a group called Technology Ireland and work in a cohesive way to develop research investments in collaboration with industry. We probably have a more flexible suite of offerings in terms of the synergies between industry and academia than many other countries. This is generating a lot of interest in the global research community. There is a lot on offer in Ireland through the funding of Science Foundation Ireland, the IDA and Enterprise Ireland. The challenge is to maintain this in terms of both indigenous industry and foreign direct investors. It is not a question of “either or” and we should not engage in the game of playing one off the other. There is a lot of foreign direct investment to be won. The task has become more challenging but we can still win a significant amount.
There is a link between foreign direct investment and indigenous enterprise in that many in the latter sector are supplying the former. Many of them are adding solutions to the multinational offering in terms of the quality of our technology.
I mentioned small business. The small business report listed many recommendations, which we have implemented. The Minister for Finance, in his budgets of 2006 and 2007 in particular, gave effect, in a very solid and effective way, to almost all the taxation recommendations contained in the report. We introduced the innovation voucher, for example, which represents a novel approach to enable micro-companies of four and five people to obtain grant aid from Enterprise Ireland to buy knowledge and expertise from colleges. To date, approximately 428 companies have received innovation vouchers. The interest of the companies in this initiative has been satisfactory. The business forum picked up the idea in Holland. It is a very useful way to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship across the economy. We also introduced a Tech-Check system, whereby we enable small companies to check that their technology is being used to the greatest effect. We are supporting companies in this regard.
Reference was made to regulation and the external audit. We did significant work to remove the audit burden from many small companies.
We are agreed on the issue of skills and we have devised and developed a national skills strategy. It sets out the most challenging upskilling target the country has ever set and will result in the upskilling of 500,000 workers between now and 2020. We have, through Skillnets and the FÁS one-step-up initiative, allocated significant resources over the past two to three years to dramatically change the level of engagement with existing workers and to enable existing workers to upskill.
Some 80% of all existing workers will be working in 20 years’ time and our challenge is to enable them to gain an extra qualification while at work. That is a big challenge for education and training providers, but it is one that we are keen to deliver. The function of the Minister of State, Deputy Haughey, who is straddling both the Department of Education and Science and my Department, is to implement that skills strategy and to facilitate synergies between the two Departments in the future.
As the House will be aware, the Minister of State with responsibility for trade, Deputy McGuinness, has been active on the trade front and is particularly active on the WTO side. Mention was made of agriculture earlier. We are focused on the connection between agriculture, as a key sector in the economy in terms of job creation, and the value-added nature of the food industry, on which Enterprise Ireland is working flat out. Enterprise Ireland has a strong, proactive approach with food companies. I have been at many functions with the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Deputy Coughlan, and the Minister of State, Deputy McGuinness, related to the research and development activities of many of our food companies such as Glanbia and Dairygold in terms of the nutritional health-enhancing foods, which are dear to my heart as many of the Deputies will be aware. It is all about gaining increased market share.
8 o’clock
An Ceann Comhairle: Like us all.
Deputy Micheál Martin: I am glad to note that the Ceann Comhairle is heading that way.
Deputy Willie Penrose: We all are on board.
Deputy Micheál Martin: Economic migration is a challenging debate for us. I have brought in a green card system to facilitate the attraction of high-skilled persons with their families to this society. Only approximately 1,000 were facilitated last year since the scheme was introduced.
However, I am conscious it is not a popular message to send out. If we are serious about competitiveness, we must heed what multinationals such as Microsoft and Intel tell me when I visit, that the growing issue is procurement of skills and they will go where the skills are available. Due to the post-11 September 2001 scenario in the States, such companies are encountering significant difficulty accessing skills outside the US. Therefore, a properly managed migration policy is important and it is a factor. When one looks at Google in Ireland, for example, with 1,500 employees in Dublin and 43 language competencies, one begins to see the complex nature of the modern Irish economy. It is not one that lends itself to simplistic notions, one way or the other, and it creates its own challenges in terms of economic planning into the future. However, in terms of sustainable migration policy, we have developed a good framework in this country and it is a policy we worked on with Forfás, and the expert group on future skills needs, in terms of developing to meet skills deficits in a sustainable way regarding non-EU citizens coming into the country. It is a framework that will continue to help us attract foreign direct investment.
The foreign direct investment pipeline is still strong. We are focusing on certain areas, including high-end manufacturing, internationally traded services and areas such as financial services, pharmaceuticals, bio-pharmaceutical, technology companies, information communication technologies, space, etc. We are chasing existing clients to bring more mandates into the country and we are chasing new companies and asking them to consider locating in Ireland. I am only back from the States where I was with representatives of Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland. We are developing greater synergies between the two in respect of our trade missions.
Some 64% of investments in 2007 were located outside Dublin. Our corporation tax rate of 12.5% is critically important. This Government brought it down to 12.5%. In fairness, former Minister Charlie McCreevy took no prisoners when he did it. He was condemned and attacked at the time of that budget by certain politicians on the other side of the House but he was right to proceed with it because it has had an important bearing.
Employment in IDA Ireland companies accounts for approximately 136,000 jobs. The average salary from IDA supported investments in 2007 was almost €44,000 or 19% above the average industrial wage of €36,800, reflecting the higher quality and related higher skills of the new positions created by these investments. IDA Ireland supported companies paid €3 billion in corporation tax in 2007, accounting for 47% of the total corporation tax take of €6.7 billion.
I refer the House to a contribution penned by Alan Gray of Indecon to a recent competitiveness conference held at Farmleigh where he tracked American FDI investment in Ireland over the past six to seven years and the output. He outlined significant increases in the value of US investments in Ireland compared to 2000, giving the lie to the story that it is all over and ending. In terms of eastern Europe, we compare extremely favourably regarding both the value and volume of FDI emanating from the United States.
However, it is clearly more challenging. We will not be competing with China and India on wage rates. When a company such as Allergan moves to China or Costa Rica, there are certain areas in which we will not be competing. I do not think anyone in the House will suggest that we try to match the wages of China or Vietnam. We will not do that. Brain power and targeting certain key areas is the name of the game. We look at China and India as big markets to which our own companies may go to see what niches they can establish and what portion of the market share they can get.
We must watch our overall offering, such as cost competitiveness. We have no argument in that regard. This is a different economy now. It is a far more value-added economy and the cost of living here is higher than it was ten or 15 years ago. Therefore, we offer companies different value propositions, but we must ensure that the net package we offer is still beneficial and narrows the gap between ourselves and our competitors. That is the issue.
We must drive the Irish entrepreneurial story and really work behind quality Irish companies such as high-potential start-up companies and the scaling division of Enterprise Ireland, which selects companies with potential for growth and works with them actively on research and development, human resource, sales and marketing and management capability to drive them on. Some 30 CEOs from the companies in the scaling division went to Stanford University to do a leadership for growth programme sponsored by Enterprise Ireland. They are the kind of programmes that will make a difference to the growth of Irish companies in the future and we are clearly aware of the need for enhanced management capability on the indigenous side as well as sales and marketing.
The New York Times ran an article entitled “Ireland is alive with enthusiasm for entrepreneurship”. In fact, I got a telephone call from The New York Times asking if I would give an interview about a company called Photo Nation Ireland Limited, which is based in Galway. It developed the technology, beloved of all politicians, which takes the red eye out when Deputy Ring is being photographed. The New York Times asked me quizzically how that technology originated in Ireland, of all places.
Deputy Michael Ring: Would they do anything for hair?
Deputy Micheál Martin: There is a company developing something for the hair as well but the conservative within me is loath to chance it.
Deputy Willie Penrose: We will never get the Minister off the newspapers then.
Deputy Leo Varadkar: It cannot do miracles.
Deputy Micheál Martin: Deputy Varadkar mentioned Allergan. What happened in Arklow is extremely disappointing for the workers and all concerned. We will work hard to replace that and get in alternative employment.
It has a different operation in Mayo. Mayo is the sole manufacturing site for botox in the world. When I say botox, people should not think only of the face, etc. Botox is a remarkable drug which has approximately 20 applications. I have been to Allergan in the States. The pride and the performance of that company in Mayo, in terms of what they have managed to achieve, is outstanding.
Deputy Michael Ring: It is a great company.
Deputy Micheál Martin: It is an outstanding tribute to the management and staff there. Our challenge is to get an increased level of that type of activity in Ireland so that those locations become the key ones for global companies and that we retain our position.
The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Deputy Ryan, is working actively on the broadband issue. We have made extraordinary progress in the past two years from what I accept was a low base and there are considerable challenges on the broadband agenda, but I am confident. The Minister, Deputy Ryan’s draft policy paper is currently being updated. He held a major forum on it recently. We will make considerable progress, particularly in terms of next generation broadband which is important.
We urge that it be a constructive debate, devoid of unnecessary political point scoring and negativity. It is in our interest to portray to the world that we acknowledge the challenges of the present day but are prepared to put in place the correct policy pillars to guarantee future employment and competitiveness in the economy.
Deputy Willie Penrose: I wish to share time with Deputy Martin Ferris and to provide ten minutes for Deputy Kathleen Lynch tomorrow.