We are entering an intensely busy period. I want to update you on important Ibec activity and developments.
New Ibec President: Yesterday Anne Heraty, CEO of Cpl Resources, took office as the new Ibec President, replacing Gerry Collins of Janssen. As an organisation, it's a real privilege to have such an accomplished national business leader taking up the helm. At last night's Ibec President's Dinner in the RDS, with Taoiseach Enda Kenny as Guest of Honour, Anne set out three immediate priorities for government: A sophisticated and assertive national response to Brexit; an ambitious October budget that supports businesses and job creation during uncertain times (view Ibec budget submission here); and a fundamental re-think in how we attract talent from abroad and nurture it at home. I'm looking forward to working with Anne, and wish her every success.
Raising Brexit concerns in Brussels: I was again in Brussels last week to meet European business leaders, senior European Commission officials and Ireland's Permanent Representation to the EU. Brexit topped the agenda. Ibec has repeatedly been in the domestic headlines highlighting the concerns of business, and outlining ways to offset the Brexit risks as they crystalise. But we need to communicate the Irish business position with clarity and assertiveness much wider: to the EU institutions, London and to the other capitals of Europe. Others understand the Irish concerns, but a sympathetic hearing is no guarantee of a benign outcome. Shock, disappointment and uncertainty still dominate the mood. Ibec's work will continue and intensify over the coming weeks and months. Today's informal meeting in Bratislava of all member states, except the UK, will set the tone. Ibec's has communicated the views of business to both the government and the EU institutions in advance. We are determined to support you in any way we can during this period, so keep in touch.
Reputational fall-out from Apple case and GDP figures: Unsurprisingly, the Apple judgement and the massive spike in Irish GDP figures were raised repeatedly in Brussels. Ireland is again in explaining mode. But so be it. It would be very wrong to ignore the negative international attention. We again need to communicate, indeed champion, the merits of the Irish economic model and the underlying strength of our enterprise base. The Government was right to appeal the Apple decision. It is a landmark ruling which, if left unchallenged, would have significant reputational implications. It is important for all businesses, multinational and indigenous, that Ireland's tax system is, and is seen to be, transparent and equitable.
While the Apple case is based on historical tax arrangements, volatile GDP figures are a result of companies reacting to ongoing international tax reforms. This is a function of a changing global tax environment and it is likely to continue. In Ireland we need to support these necessary OECD-backed reforms to address legitimate concerns, while also making the most of the very legitimate economic opportunities that this process presents. Others will be doing the same.
New forum for Government, business, trade unions: Later this month the government, business and the unions will sit down at the first Labour Employer Economic Forum, to be chaired by Taoiseach Enda Kenny. The stated purpose of the forum is to discuss economic and social policies as they affect employment and the workplace. Specific pay policy is off the agenda, so it is far from a return to social partnership. That's not what the country needs. Ibec will be using the forum to inject some much needed realism into the national pay debate. It's vital that elevated pay claims are not entertained. There are other areas where we agree more with the unions, on infrastructure, investment and education. We'll be looking to find common ground where appropriate.
In the coming days you will receive a copy of the Ibec Agenda newsletter with more details of ongoing work.
Get in touch with any queries or comments. It's always good to hear from you.
All the best
Friday, 16 September 2016