Sunday 17 December 2017

Dublin 'needs strategic plan' as Martin floats idea of enterprise bank

Fianna Fail’s Micheal Martin
Fianna Fail’s Micheal Martin

Dublin needs a long-term strategic plan to become a "European leader", according to Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin.

The Cork TD was speaking on the issue at the Dublin Chamber of Commerce political leader series in the Alexander Hotel.

Martin said that a vision for Dublin was a "national priority".

"I don't believe we need slogans about being the best small country to do various things in.

"What we need is a clear set of objectives about what sort of a country we want to have," he said.

"I reject the idea that local and regional development should be presented as a zero-sum game, one where we battle to get one over on each other.

"We all need to support balanced regional development and - where possible - to take opportunities to avoid overly concentrating activities.

"However, a clear vision for Dublin's future is a national priority."

Aebhric McGibney, director of public affairs at Dublin Chamber, said future generations would look abroad if cities failed to create a vision.

"Ireland's future growth will be dictated by how successfully the country's main city regions are able to grow.

"If we don't prepare for this in Ireland, Dublin and Cork and other cities will miss out on jobs and growth.

"These jobs won't go to other parts of the country, but instead to cities abroad.


"If we succeed, the next generation will be choosing between Dublin or Galway as a place to live and work, as opposed to Dubai or Sydney," said Mr McGibney.

Mr Martin said the country's low corporation tax must be defended at every opportunity and entrepreneurs must be rewarded.

"This is a battle which is, unfortunately, far from over," he said.

"I believe that the vital role they play in our society should be recognised through a series of tax changes which reflect the risks they undertake and the returns they deliver for us all.

"Dublin can be a European leader in supporting innovation and entrepreneurship.

"It can add to its traditional cultural image and the impact of larger companies to one where Dublin is known as a place where people go to start, grow and invigorate businesses," he added.

Mr Martin pledged his support to the idea of an "enterprise bank", which would lend to any company regardless of sector or size - once it can demonstrate its credit worthiness.

"Over the years there have been efforts to kick-start the venture capital sector, but they have been disjointed and not especially successful," he said.

"Britain has shown progress in this area, and it is one which should be a priority in Ireland's business policies."

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