Evidence of weakness in Irish business
* EUROSTAT data on business start-ups show that on a per capita basis, we are below the EU average and well below the most entrepreneurial countries.
* Census figures since 1926 show a continuous decline on the numbers employing others and working for themselves (see chart).
* The most recent Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report on Ireland showed that rates of company start-ups declined in 2012 and fewer people here aspire to become entrepreneurs than in most peer countries.
* Exports by Irish firms account for just 10pc of all goods and services exported from our economy. Were it not for the exports of foreign companies, Ireland would be the most closed economy among the EU 28.
* Total spending by business on research and development is below the EU average. Of the already small amounts, just one-third is accounted for home-grown companies.