ISME, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association, has called on the Government to reverse its decision to abolish County and City Enterprise Boards and hand their responsibilities over to county councils.
The Government this week began the process of scrapping county and city Enterprise Boards including Kerry's, 20 years after their establishment, and subsuming their powers into local authorities.
ISME say the government's plan will destabilise the country's small business support system, will create mini-turf wars in the existing business support groups and lead to uncertainty among the clients.
Commenting on the move ISME CEO Mark Fielding said It is "absolute madness" to cut county enterprise boards.
"They are cutting the 35 organisations that are actually making a difference to microbusinesses in Ireland. I'd be very fearful of the boards fucntions coming under the wing of the local authorities, as they do not have the ethos or experience of dealing with small business. At the moment, the boards are independent and flexible and there is a real chance this will be lost," he said.
"We welcome the potential reduction in overheads, only if that money is ploughed back into supports for local business and not put into central coffers to fix potholes. Another worry is what happens where a business owes money in local authority rates and is then receiving a grant or financial assistance. Will the authority try to grab the finance or just make it more awkward for them," said Mr Fielding.