Eighteen firms shut for each day of Cowen reign
ISME scathing on lack of government policy
The devastating impact of the recession on the private sector is revealed today as 127 companies a week or 12,049 in total have been forced to close, since Brian Cowen has become Taoiseach.
Shocking new figures from the Revenue Commissioners reveal that since 2008, 12,049 firms and 40,758 individuals have officially ceased trading.
That works out as 127 company closures a week for each of the 95 weeks Mr Cowen has been Taoiseach or 18 a day, far higher than all previous estimates.
In addition to those closing, 429 individuals a week have ceased trading since 2008 or 61 a day in the last two years.
In 2008, 28,756 companies closed their doors throughout Ireland, while there were 11,915 firm closures last year. In January of this year, according to the figures, 89 companies shut down.
However, the story is even worse as the actual figure of closures will be far higher due to a time lag of documentation being filed.
The Revenue Commissioners said: "There tends to be a time lag between date of cessation and notification to Revenue. In the case of businesses ceasing in 2009, the bulk of returns are not due to be filed until later in 2010."
Mark Fielding, CEO of the Irish Small and Medium Enterprise Association (ISME) described the figures as awful but not surprising given the Government's lack of policy on the economy.
"Policy, what policy, we have meaningless piecemeal announcements but no plan. This is only going to get worse because the time lag on recessions can be very long. There is huge economic uncertainty among consumers and businesses owners. Consumers aren't spending and businesses are not investing because they have no idea what the Government are doing," he added.
Despite the true extent of the private sector turmoil and the lack of an overall strategy, the Government will tomorrow begin a series of intense negotiations with the public sector unions at the Labour Relations Commission, in a bid to find industrial peace.
There is also a growing divide between the public sector union leadership and grass root members who are "embarrassed greatly" by the aggressive stance taken by union bosses.
The leaders' desire for further escalation of action and the repeated calls for reversal of last December's pay cuts are not shared by a growing number of ordinary members, who say such calls are utterly unrealistic.
Florence Horsman Hogan, who is a clinical nurse with 25 years' experience, said there is absolutely no justification for healthcare workers to be involved in taking industrial action. She said: "There is no justification for nursing staff to withdraw their services, because it will affect the level of care to their patients.
"The Healthcare Services have absolutely no moral right to withdraw their services. I defy the unions to assure me that my residents' care won't be affected.
"They can't do this because delivery of care will most definitely suffer."
Chris Andrews, Fianna Fail TD for Dublin South East, said his experience is that of a growing dissatisfaction among ordinary union members at the overly aggressive stance currently being taken by union leaders.
"Union members are upset, angry but realistic. They know there can't be any rolling back of the pay cuts, but I also accept there is no scope to cut their pay any further. We need real reform but these antics by the leadership are embarrassing to the union members I have spoken to."