Published: Tue, 19 May 2015
Seán Kelly MEP has commended Irish businesses on the pivotal role they continue to play in putting Ireland’s economy on the road to recovery. Speaking in the European Parliament in Strasbourg today (Tuesday) ahead of the presentation of a new European Commission report which reflects positively on Ireland’s economic performance in 2014, Mr. Kelly highlighted the report’s recognition of Ireland’s revival and growth, and welcomed its forecasting of the Irish economy to “remain resilient in 2015 and 2016”.
“Our economy truly bounced back in 2014 ensuring that we are again back among the EU’s top performers. Our growth and recovery can be attributed to increased exports and investment which grew by 12.6% and 11.3% respectively. Our unemployment rate is expected to drop close to 9% in 2016 – down from over 11% in 2014 – which really shows the strides we have made in the past 12 months,” the Ireland South MEP said.
Mr. Kelly was keen to underline the key role played by Ireland’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in putting the economy “on track to being back where it belongs”.
“SMEs account for over 99 percent of all active Irish businesses. They are the drivers of our economy generating over half of the state’s annual turnover, and employing nearly 70% of the workforce”, noted Kelly.
“A weaker euro gives small businesses a chance to further prosper as Ireland’s increased relative competitiveness means additional increases in exports, while non-exporting businesses will also feel the benefit as goods and services imported by large companies become more expensive relative to Irish alternatives”.
The Fine Gael MEP’s comments followed a vote in the European Parliament on ‘green growth’ opportunities for SMEs, which refers to the coupling of economic growth with environmental sustainability and the opportunities it can bring for businesses. Mr. Kelly strongly welcomed the initiative: “All sectors can benefit from greening their operations. Estimates show that increased resource efficiency alone can save €630 billion each year for European Industry. Additionally, actions such as energy savings, renewables deployment, and waste minimisation bring significant societal benefits. I am delighted to see now moves being made towards improving access to finance for SMEs and turning environmental challenges into real business opportunities”, he concluded.