NEWS ARTICLES
 
A new political landscape
Seventy days after the general election, in a historic Dáil vote, Enda Kenny became the first ever Fine Gael leader to be elected to a second consecutive term as Taoiseach.
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Influencing a minority government
The danger that the political dynamic of a minority led government will lead to the avoidance of difficult decisions is very real. Political expediency may undermine important policy priorities.
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Programme for Government overview
The Programme runs to over 150 pages with over 90 priorities. It contains lots of sensible ideas and commitments in areas such as enterprise, education, housing, investment and regional development.
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What was delivered for business?
The Programme for Government included a number of Ibec recommendations outlined in our Business Manifesto, launched last year.
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Finance and the economy

The dual finance ministries of the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) remain in place. DOF retains Michael Noonan as Minister while Paschal Donohue is the new Minister in DPER.

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Political reform

Substantial reforms have already been introduced since the general election, with the election of Ceann Comhairle by secret ballot and the establishment of an all-party committee on Dáil reform.

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Education and skills

The Programme has the potential to deliver an education system that works closely with business to ensure graduates are acquiring skills that are valued in the jobs market.

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Labour market and employment
A commitment has been made to prioritise quality affordable childcare, including the publishing of an independent review of the costs of childcare provision in private and community settings.
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Infrastructure

Irish Water will now be more dependent on exchequer funding than previously expected. This reduces the potential for increased capital expenditure on water, wastewater and transport infrastructure.

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Regional and rural

€500 million in funding for Enterprise Ireland, Udaras Na Gaeltachta and the IDA is a positive development. Initiatives to revitalise rural Ireland with New Town and Village Renewal Scheme are also welcome.

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Housing

The Department of Environment, Community and Local Government (DECLG) has been replaced with a Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government with Simon Coveney as the minister responsible.

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Enterprise

While there is no substantial change in brief with most of enterprise policy staying within the Department of Jobs Enterprise and Innovation, there is a new Minister, Fine Gael's Mary Mitchell O’Connor.

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Agrifood

'Food Wise 2025' will remain the blueprint for the development of the agri-food sector. The Programme indicates a new tax on sugar sweetened drinks will be introduced, a move opposed by Ibec.

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Digital agenda

The Programme does not explicitly make reference to advancing the digital economy. There is no reference to the digital single market, its importance to Ireland or a need to engage internationally on it.

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EU affairs

Although referring to the “beneficial” nature of the UK maintaining its membership of the EU, there is no further detail or discussion of Brexit and the significant potential implications.

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Trade and international affairs

The Programme indicates that new trade strategies for the Asia-Pacific and Americas region will be developed.

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Climate change

Additional funding for the promotion of clean energy technologies in heating and transport is welcome.

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EVENTS
 
Ibec Policy + Business Series, 27 May
The next session in our Policy + Business series will take place on Friday 27 May at 8am in Ibec. We will examine new Ibec research on changing demographics and its impact on national and regional consumer trends plus analysis on the new government's priorities and the implications for business.
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