Smith calls for All-Island industrial promotion agency

– Cross-border strategy must be bolstered to ensure post-Brexit prosperity –

– Trade missions are key to opening new markets –

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan and Chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade Brendan Smith has called for an all-island industrial promotion agency to ensure that key investment opportunities in Ireland are secured and developed.

Northern Irish companies have been involved in a number of trade promotion visits organised by Enterprise Ireland and the IDA over the past 6 years.  Extensive links have also been forged between Irish State agencies and Invest Northern Ireland to further develop relations into the future and the establishment of an all-island agency would bolster those opportunities.

Deputy Smith commented, “I was extremely disappointed by the disparaging and untrue remarks made by Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster a fortnight ago when she accused the Irish government of talking down the Northern Irish economy.  It has never been the case that an Irish government has had an agenda to sully the reputation of Northern Ireland in order to compete for jobs.

“In fact, the over the last 6 years, companies from Northern Ireland have been involved in at least 12 Enterprise Ireland trade promotion visits and 3 IDA missions.  I have always been a strong advocate for intensifying relations between the various business and economic agencies North and South to enable them to sell an all-island product.  This was something I was particularly conscious of during my time as Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Over many years there has been a close working relationship between the Agriculture Departments North and South of the Border.

“First Minister Foster’s comments were designed to drive a wedge between economic and business relations on either side of the border, when what we need to attract investment to the island is a stronger bond between the various agencies and bodies.  This approach will build on the foundations of the Good Friday Agreement and has the potential to reap huge rewards for the entire island”, concluded Deputy Smith.

-Ends-

– Cross-border strategy must be bolstered to ensure post-Brexit prosperity –

– Trade missions are key to opening new markets –

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan and Chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade Brendan Smith has called for an all-island industrial promotion agency to ensure that key investment opportunities in Ireland are secured and developed.

Northern Irish companies have been involved in a number of trade promotion visits organised by Enterprise Ireland and the IDA over the past 6 years.  Extensive links have also been forged between Irish State agencies and Invest Northern Ireland to further develop relations into the future and the establishment of an all-island agency would bolster those opportunities.

Deputy Smith commented, “I was extremely disappointed by the disparaging and untrue remarks made by Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster a fortnight ago when she accused the Irish government of talking down the Northern Irish economy.  It has never been the case that an Irish government has had an agenda to sully the reputation of Northern Ireland in order to compete for jobs.

“In fact, the over the last 6 years, companies from Northern Ireland have been involved in at least 12 Enterprise Ireland trade promotion visits and 3 IDA missions.  I have always been a strong advocate for intensifying relations between the various business and economic agencies North and South to enable them to sell an all-island product.  This was something I was particularly conscious of during my time as Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Over many years there has been a close working relationship between the Agriculture Departments North and South of the Border.

“First Minister Foster’s comments were designed to drive a wedge between economic and business relations on either side of the border, when what we need to attract investment to the island is a stronger bond between the various agencies and bodies.  This approach will build on the foundations of the Good Friday Agreement and has the potential to reap huge rewards for the entire island”, concluded Deputy Smith.

-Ends-

QUESTION NO: 446

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed)

by Deputy Brendan Smith

for WRITTEN ANSWER on 08/11/2016

To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine the number of trade promotion visits organised by agencies under the remit of his department, such as Bord Bia and Bord Iascaigh Mhara, which had representation from Northern Ireland on such missions in each of the years 2010 to 2015 inclusive; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY.

My Department, with the assistance of its agencies (Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Bord Iascaigh Mhara), has organised nine trade promotional visits during the period referred to. These missions have been to a range of destinations, such as China, United States, Africa and the Gulf region, which are of strategic importance in the development of the agri-food sector.

Opening new markets, and building on successful trading relationships, are key to the continued growth of the agri-food sector. Indeed, the development of new markets is a central component of Food Wise 2015, the sector’s strategy for development over the coming decade. This work has taken on renewed importance in light of the decision of the UK to leave the EU.

During these trade missions all areas of the Irish Agri-food sector have been represented, including companies that operate in both jurisdictions on this island. However, there has been no specific representation from Northern Ireland companies on these missions.

                                                DAIL QUESTION NO: 506

To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of trade promotion visits organised by agencies under the remit of her department such as Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland which had representation from Northern Ireland on such missions for each of the years 2010 to 2015 inclusive; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

– Brendan Smith.

*   For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 8th November, 2016.

Ref No:   33694/16

R E P L Y

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Ms Mitchell O’Connor)

Both agencies under the aegis of my Department, Enterprise Ireland (EI) and IDA Ireland, engage with relevant bodies in Northern Ireland to pursue areas of mutual advantage. Developing all-island initiatives and cooperation can, in certain circumstances, better build our competitive advantage internationally.

In the period 2010 to 2015, Enterprise Ireland had representation from Northern Ireland on 12 trade promotion visits while IDA involved companies from Northern Ireland on 3 occasions.

Extensive links have been forged by EI with various agencies and bodies in Northern Ireland. In particular there is close co-operation between Invest Northern Ireland (INI) and EI. A Memorandum of Understanding is in place between EI and INI to enable clients of both agencies to access market services, trade missions/fairs, seminars and to provide INI clients with access to EI management development programmes such as Leadership 4 Growth and the International Selling Programme. There is also close collaboration between EI, INI and InterTrade Ireland (ITI) on the specific Cross Border programmes which are run by the latter body, in order to ensure effective operation and non-duplication.
Enterprise Ireland, IDA and Invest Northern Ireland cooperated in relation to a Trade Mission to Singapore in December 2013 which was specifically targeted at companies from both jurisdictions who are active in the aerospace sector.

In 2015 and 2016 IDA Ireland in co-operation with EI, Department of Foreign Affairs and INI hosted a dinner in the Irish Embassy in London to coincide with the Irish Aviation Purchasing and Management Exhibition.

 

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