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Small firms almost in harmony

Representatives of Ireland's indigenous small businesses were singing with almost one voice when they trooped into Leinster House to discuss the dangers of a growing untaxed "black economy" with the Oireactas Jobs Committee.

Small employers are on the ground in every town and village across the country, so the session was an opportunity for TDs and senators to engage directly with the concerns of a uniquely diverse national lobby – arguably these days a group more influential than the shrinking pool of farmers.

So who represents small business?

According to Mark Fielding, the more than 8,750 members across all sectors that he represents means his "Irish Small and Medium Enterprises association (ISME) is the TRUE voice of the Irish SME."

But his rivals over at the Small Firms Association (SFA) are having none of it.

Mr Fielding had to share his time in front of the Jobs Committee with the SFA's Aeneas Noonan (or AJ as he likes to be known) and Avine McNally.

They represent 7,500 companies and seven affiliated organisations, according to their submission to the Committee, making them the "voice of small business" in Ireland.

The Punt is fond of both organisations although the alphabet soup can sometimes prove annoying.

Irish Independent