Monday, November 06, 2006

The Minister for Good News

Micheál Martin TD, Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment
We had another example today of Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment Micheál Martin TD in the business of good news with the announcement that Merck Sharp & Dohme (Ireland) Ltd, US drugs firm Merck & Co., planned to establish a Formulation R&D and Manufacturing Facility at its plant in Ballydine with the support of IDA Ireland, and create 120 jobs over three years.

The Minister's Department made another announcement that he officially opened software company QUMAS’s new Research and Development Centre at Cleve Business Park, Cork, in his constituency and announced a further major R&D investment of €4.4m by the company, with support from Enterprise Ireland. The investment will allow for the expansion of the R&D department and will lead to the creation of 40 new high-value jobs, 26 of which are dedicated R&D roles, over the next two years at the company’s Cork headquarters.

In the constituency of East Cork, which Martin's Junior Minister Michael Ahern represents, the current operators of the former Youghal Carpets plant, announced 86 job cuts today.

Neither minister made an official comment on the news.

Last week, there was no press release from the Department on the 2,000 job redundancies in October, bringing the total to 19,533 in the year to date.

Junior Minister Michael Ahern who is known as Minister for Trade and Commerce is not averse to issuing press statements and usually tries to spin the export figures, which have fallen since 2001 and in the current year, are just keeping track with inflation.

It was reported last month that exports in the 12 months to July 2006 were up 3%.

“Irish exporters are continuing to perform well in a difficult trading environment caused by the global economic slowdown and rising oil prices,“ Minister said in a press statement.

However, there was no global economic slowdown in the first seven months of the year.

The International Monetary Fund’s latest World Economic Outlook expects an important increase in global Gross Domestic Product this year.

The twice-yearly report predicts global economic growth of 5.1 percent in 2006—an upward revision of 30 basis points from the April 2006 projections –and 4.9 percent next year. If the predictions are accurate, “this would be the strongest four-year period of global expansion since the early 1970s,” the report notes.