Irish Republic's Businesses 'To Shed Jobs'

A third of Irish businesses will be shedding jobs in 2012, according to an interest group for small and medium sized business owners.

Reacting to the increase in the live register figures for 2010, published on Thursday, the Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association (ISME), called for "job creation and retention" to be given focus in 2011.

The association said that if proper employment policies were put in place, smaller businesses would be in a position to create jobs and assist in fuelling future economic growth.

"At present no coherent policy exists, with companies continuing to struggle and shedding jobs in the process."

ISME Chief Executive, Mark Fielding said: "What is urgently required is the introduction of policies to provide the confidence for businesses to start investing and creating employment. The current reality is that business owners see an administration that has no plan to address business concerns, with companies consequently in survival as opposed to expansion mode.

"Thousands of businesses will continue to shed jobs over the next number of months, unless immediate action is taken. We need the Government to make job creation and retention the main focus for 2011."

Figures published by the Government statistics agency yesterday showed the number of people signing on the Live Register had increased in December despite falls over the previous three months.

According to the Central Statistics Office, seasonally adjusted figures showed some 444,000 are now signing on for unemployment benefit, an increase of 5,200 from November and 13,484 for the year.

The ISME said the indications are that 2011 would continue to see unemployment remaining high, with the first quarter being particularly difficult, as many businesses attempted to deal with the effects of harsh trading conditions over the Christmas period, due to inclement weather, water shortages and depressed consumer spending. "Further reductions in income due to tax increases will only add to an already serious situation,” Mr Fielding added.

A recent ISME survey claimed that one third of companies expected to shed jobs over the next 12 months. Many of the companies identified economic uncertainty, lack of finance and the increasing costs to business as key reasons for reducing employment.


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