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'State needs to focus on jobs and business growth, not public sector'

MORE than two-thirds of company directors say the Government is not doing enough to support business growth in Ireland, while three-quarters say economic reforms have been too slow, new research has found.

Data from the Institute of Directors found widespread dissatisfaction with the Government's performance for businesses.

In a sign of just how far the debate on growth versus austerity has moved, some 70pc of those surveyed by the institute want the €1bn saved by the deal on the Anglo Irish promissory note deal to be spent on boosting jobs and employment.

Barely a third of directors now believe reforming the public sector should be the Government's main priority.

Finance

Looking at the performance of government departments in particular, members were most pleased with how the Department of Finance has performed.

In what will be of comfort to Finance Minister Michael Noonan, some 59pc of directors rated the department's achievements under the current Government as "good" or "excellent".

In contrast, however, the report reinforces the public unhappiness with James Reilly and the Department of Health. Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed rated that department's performance as "poor" or "very poor".

Perhaps most worryingly, 76pc of directors surveyed do not believe Ireland's graduates are prepared for the workplace, citing a lack of understanding of how business works and a lack of ability to work on their own initiative, as well as insufficient competence in foreign languages.

The institute's chief executive, Maura Quinn, said it was "encouraging to see that directors are generally optimistic about future job creation in their own businesses".

"Directors want to see (the Government) focusing its efforts on unemployment and job growth in the year ahead," she said.

"Economic opportunities in agri-food, foreign direct investment and technology must be realised and capitalised upon as a means of supporting Ireland's growth and job creation," Ms Quinn added.

Irish Independent