SFA Annual Conference 2013

Tuesday, 11 June 2013


- SFA Chair states key to future success is investment and growth

- Collective bargaining would cost jobs and impact on investment

- Call for urgent action to address youth unemployment

- Small Firms are the Engines of Recovery

“Our recovery must be based on reducing the cost of doing business, boosting productivity, restoring a sound macro economic base and ensuring the delivery of world class performance standards across our public service.”, AJ Noonan, Chairman, Small Firms Association.

The Chairman of the Small Firms Association, AJ Noonan has said that the key to our successful tomorrow is investment, growth and placing small firms at the heart of economic policy.

Speaking to over 300 delegates at the SFA Annual National Conference in Dublin, sponsored by Ulster Bank. Noonan said, “The key to our deficit reduction is growth. The key to job creation is growth. Growth is generated by a combination of measures including rising incomes, higher consumer spending, cost control, innovation and investment in infrastructure. However, any growth model must have small businesses at its heart.

Noonan highlighted “New solutions are required to drive recovery as the old solutions of monetary easing, devaluing the currency and stimulatory policies are out of our control. Our recovery must be based on reducing the cost of doing business, boosting productivity, restoring a sound macro economic base and ensuring the delivery of world class performance standards across our public service.”

Noonan stated that any small firms must resist fiercely any attempt to collective bargaining rights stating that such a move would cost jobs and impact on investment. He added that the flexibility of the Irish labour system is a distinct competitive advantage. Irish labour law provides protection to employees, but also allows for flexibility at a company level in how employee relations are managed and disputes resolved.

“We cannot accept a trade union movement seeking to go backwards or yearning to make us like others who have different structures and economies which are based on very high taxation of capital and of those we employ. We must acknowledge among ourselves that we are different and that we need our own model. We must recognise that we always do better fighting with the real competitor rather than ourselves.”

Noonan called on Government for urgent action to address youth unemployment stating that in the current economic and financial crisis the lack of job opportunities has impacted on young people more than any other group in Irish society.

“We have a wonderful group of young people in Ireland. They are smart, educated, fearless and progressive, but the one thing they lack is experience. This experience can be gained abroad but it would be much better if this experience could be gained at home working in small firms. We must not become a donor country of educated young people creating wealth for other countries. Active labour policies are only part of the solution, reducing youth unemployment is not possible without a strong commitment and focus on education, growth and recovery.”

Mr David Thomas, Managing Director, Corporate Banking Division at Ulster Bank, said “we are delighted to be supporting SFA as the title sponsor of its Annual Conference. We liked the twin themes of investment and growth to support small business, both of which are at the heart of our own business in Ulster Bank”.


Noonan concluded, “We need to address the problems that need fixing but we need to look to tomorrow rather than today or yesterday. We know any future success can only be built on investment, skills, ability, and innovation. We are still best when we pull together as a people, as a small firm, as a Government, as a nation. We have to focus on assisting a pro business, progressive climate, to create the environment where business and enterprise thrive and where risk is rewarded.”

Ends

For further information and interviews, please contact:
AJ Noonan, Chairman, Small Firms Association, Tel: 086 259 2610.
Avine McNally, Acting Director, Small Firms Association, Tel: 087 645 0205.
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