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Hard questions for Michael Noonan at ISME annual lunch

20th May 2015

We wouldn’t apply the old adage that ‘there’s no such thing as a free lunch’ to our VIP guest at the ISME annual lunch to be held in Dublin on May 29th, but it’s very likely that the Minister won’t get a free ride either.

Best business lunch ever

Over 500 members and their guests will attend at what is probably one of the best business networking events on the calendar and there are likely to be some hard questions, either from the floor or afterwards, directed at the Minister about how and why entrepreneurs are discriminated against, paying more tax for less benefits than any other group in society.

Make jobs not claims

We can anticipate the Minister will tell us how thousands of jobs have been created (fortunately there seems to be policy by both Ministers Noonan and Bruton not to claim they create jobs) and references, no doubt, will be made to the Sure financing scheme, to Microfinance Ireland and to other business supports that have been enacted or sometimes re-invented in the last couple of years.

Give us the ammo, we’ll do the fighting

Any finance for business is to be welcomed but where are the transformational initiatives that would see the private sector, the SMEs that provide the bulk of jobs, taxes and productivity, deliver more of what they are capable of?  Our sector is willing and able to re-ignite the economy. The Government is failing to help us.

Here are 7 Just Demands from ISME that the Minister could comment on at the lunch;

i)  End the tax discrimination against entrepreneurs.

ii)  End the talk of ‘restoration’ of public sector pay,  that puts serious pressure on the productive SME sector, undermining attempts to recover (not restore) from what went on for the last seven years.

iii)  Stop public sector unions and the large employers umbrella group who also represent the Semi-states trying to set the agenda for private sector SME wages – both groups have no concept of the real pressures on Irish SMEs.

iv)  Stop bankers going against Government policy when they make it ridiculously difficult for businesses to get banking finance – a problem acknowledged by the State setting up the Credit Review Office.

v)  For transparency, publish the full remuneration packages, not just their salaries, of senior management at the State owned banks to see how they relate to ‘real world’ salaries of SMEs.

i)Cut absenteeism in the public sector, something that costs the State hundreds of millions of Euro, or the price of a new hospital, every year.

ii)  An unusual demand. ISME travels the country and most main routes are excellent, with one exception. The road to Donegal is a disgrace, it’s the forgotten county. Invest in a proper road to Donegal to bring badly needed jobs there.

The ISME annual lunch will be held in the Double Tree by Hilton (the old Burlington) on Friday May 29, 2015. You can book here now.