Chamber calls for development bank

NAMA alone is not the answer to solving credit problems faced by companies, according to the Cork Chamber president, who also believes the public sector needs to be reformed.

Ger O’Mahoney believes a development bank in the style of ICC, which was originally set up to foster business activity, would “go a long way” towards encouraging people to engage in enterprise again.

Speaking at the Cork Chamber annual dinner last night, Mr O’Mahoney said a structural reform of the public sector is necessary.

“The multiplicity of agencies and authorities does not seem to be fit for purpose in the new Ireland. We should look at structuring our public sector into wider economic areas which cover a larger base,” he said.

“This would enable us to plan in a broader and more competitive manner and would ultimately lead to the more efficient roll-out of services to be delivered nationally, regionally, locally or privately.”

He said the Government must establish an emergency task force to co-ordinate and implement the changes required. Addressing the 900-strong crowd at Cork City Hall last night Mr O’Mahoney said Ireland’s sense of civic duty is “often lacking”.

“Ireland would benefit greatly if an increasing number of people in the private sector, who have opinions and ideas on how we can get back on track, would take the initiative and look to get involved in the public sector.

“There is a stark contrast in Ireland compared with other countries such as the UK and the US where many individuals in enterprise become actively involved in public service. In fact, they are encouraged to do so. Some get involved in politics for the long haul but many also do so on a secondment basis.

“They feel a much higher obligation to get involved and effect change.

“Here, however, it seems that there is almost a barrier to it. The question ‘what’s in it for me’ is asked too often. If this doesn’t change, the ‘great divide’ between private and public will remain to a large degree.”

The Chamber is encouraging all member companies to continue engaging with it through its lobbying, policy-development and research work.


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