Current Issues

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In addition to the services that ISME provides to its members, the Association continually raises a range of issues pertaining to competitive business in the national media and with Government representatives.

Listed below are just some of the issues campaigned for by ISME:

Insurance Reform

  • We’re delighted to welcome the passage of the Criminal Justice (Perjury and Related Offences) Bill 2018. We’ve long campaigned for the introduction of a statutory perjury offence since 2017. Ireland is the last common law country in the world to pass such legislation.
  • We are working the Covid issue as it affects business continuity and business interruption insurance. We ask all members to check their policies now.
  • As the only independent trade association for small business, ISME is in your corner on insurance. We’re not beholden to big insurers or big law.
  • We’re fighting for lower awards, the investigation and punishment of fraud, and for reform of our Dickensian legal system.
  • We’re also lobbying government on the need to introduce a Perjury Act to reduce the number of blatantly false and exaggerated claims before the Injuries Board and the courts.
  • New Specialised Garda Unit Launched to Tackle Insurance Fraud in October 2021, you can read the Garda MOU on Reporting Insurance Fraud here.

Pension Equity

  • Tax relief for private sector pension savers must be maintained at the current marginal rate of taxation (currently 40%). There must be an incentive for private sector workers to save money for their pensions.
  • Private sector workers mustn’t be discriminated against via the “income ceiling” on contributions. The private sector defined contribution pension savers shouldn’t have a ceiling on their earnings imposed below that of the highest earning public sector worker (currently €350,000). Workers in the private sector should be allowed set aside as much of their income as they want to secure a standard of living post-retirement.
  • Many public sector pensioners enjoy pensions that would require a fund far in excess of the current €2m “standard fund threshold” (SFT) even though they do not have to fund their pension. Yet higher-earning private sector workers are financially penalised if they save more than €2m of their own money for their pension. This blatant discrimination must end, and the SFT must be increased to its 2005 level of €5m.
  • Donate to our court action and learn more here

“Blue Cert” for Business

  • ISME is proposing the introduction of a certification process to professionalise the SME sector. The framework for the ‘Blue Cert’ qualification for SMEs has been developed in a collaboration between ISME, Network Ireland and Griffith College and aims to increase the SME sector’s resilience and equip it to drive productivity in the Irish economy.
  • Find out more here.


  • Significance Of The SME Sector In The Irish Economy : A Report Prepared for the Local Jobs Alliance – Link here
  • ISME are backing the plan. Please sign the petition here.
  • ISME has been lobbying the government and raising concerns with the press regarding Coronavirus since early February, weeks before cases arrived here.
  • It is evident that liquidity is a huge concern for our members are we are lobbying the government to look at supports for the SMEs who are the backbone of the Irish economy.
  • ISME are pushing for easier, faster cheaper access to emergency funding for SMEs, otherwise, everyone is going to suffer.

Cost of Living

  • Reducing the cost of living; ISME through its representation on various boards, advisory groups and governmental forums is lobbying Government to reduce state influenced costs in areas including education, health, transport and insurance to offset the demands for higher pay.

Tax discrimination:

  • Ending the tax discrimination suffered by the self-employed.
  • Further improvements to the Employment Investment Incentive Scheme and the Start-up Relief for Entrepreneurs scheme.
  • Get the KEEP Scheme working.

Cost Competitiveness:

  • Improve Ireland’s cost competitiveness and oppose any increases in costs related to sick pay, pension costs, wage increases and mandatory PRSI increases.

Commercial Rates:

  • ISME has been lobbying all public representatives on the issue of local authority commercial rates. We’re currently lobbying for the introduction of a more fair and equitable rates revaluation system; one which is based on size and profitability of a business.

Spending on Infrastructure:

  • The state needs to prioritise the National Broadband plan, the completion of the M20 between Cork and Limerick, the rapid provision of affordable housing, and improved public transport.

Public Sector Reform:

  • Improve efficiencies and fairness within the public sector to increase value for money.

OECD Review of Indigenous Industrial Policy:

  • Long before the OECD told us that our SME policies needed updating, we told Government.
  • ISME wants to increase SME scale, employment and productivity by investing in owner manager upskilling. We believe the best way to do this is via a tax-incentivised basic diploma in business studies, similar to the one currently provided to farmers.