Taoiseach pledges to cut food-sector red tape
THE VALUE of food and beverage exports increased 13pc in the first five months of the year, it was revealed yesterday, as the Taoiseach said he wanted Ireland to be "the best small country in the world for doing business by 2016".
Speaking at a Bord Bia summit in Dublin, Enda Kenny told a number of food-industry executives that he wanted to remove the obstacles to running business in Ireland and to "cut as much red tape as possible" from the food and drink sector.
"If things aren't being done, then tell me where the blockage is," he said.
"Sometimes, government gets locked into different things and as far as I'm concerned my job is to free up those obstacles to business."
He told the executives to call him "directly". "I've spoken to several people over the years who would never get that opportunity [to clear obstacles to business] who desperately need it," he said.
Food and beverage exports between January and May grew by 13pc year-on-year to €3.44bn, Bord Bia said. The group expects exports to increase €600m for the second straight year.
Despite that growth, Harvard Business School's Mary Shelman, who co-authored Bord Bia's "Pathways to Growth" report last year, said there was still much to be done if the industry was to grow as hoped.
"You need to find a way for firms to think collectively about international markets. It doesn't make sense for firms to be competing against each other in a race to the bottom," she said.
"There's not enough co-operation, but I'm starting to see signs that it could exist.
"This is a journey. You don't press a button and everything works.
"There will be experiments with failures along the way but it's about continuing to talk and building trust.
"[Fortunately] a unified vision is emerging of the country as a leading producer of high-quality food, and steps are in place to get there."