Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, today launched its ‘Manufacturing Ireland’ campaign and new association, the Irish Manufacturers Association (IMA). The Manufacturing Ireland campaign sets out a vision for Ireland’s manufacturing sector which calls on the next government to:
Commit to spending an additional €10 billion on infrastructure projects by 2020
Provide new funding options for SME manufacturers that need capital to achieve growth and scale
Ensure adequate funding for upskilling in manufacturing, including lean manufacturing, and support the development of new apprenticeships specifically for the sector
Establish a national cyber security programme with dedicated funding to prioritise cyber security research
Newly appointed Director of the Irish Manufacturers Association Avine McNally said: “Ireland can be a world leader in quality manufacturing, but we need to get the business environment right. We need to be competitive, but we also need to share best practice, better support cross sectoral collaboration and ensure our workforce is up to the task. We also need to significantly upgrade our national infrastructure, this requires major new investment.”
“Irish manufacturing employs 159,000 people, making it the second largest employer in the country and a vital component of the economy. There are over 4,000 manufacturers throughout Ireland, 82% are based outside the Dublin region. Manufacturing firms purchase over €12bn from Irish suppliers each year and invest over €3.4bn in the Irish economy. Manufacturing output accounts for 24% of Ireland’s total economic output and accounted for the majority of Ireland’s €92.62bn in exports during 2014.
“An Ibec AIB Manufacturing Survey, carried out for the launch of the association, showed that 71% of manufacturing respondents export and 51% viewed increased demand in overseas markets as a key opportunity. For 73% of survey respondents, operational excellence with firms was their number one critical production issue. Employment in the sector is strong and 63% are investing in hiring new staff in the coming year and 33% increased their employee numbers in 2015.
“The survey indicated that 88% specified investment in technology and IT as a key priority over the next three years. The advances in robotics and the digital marketplace makes automation cost effective, flexible and offers transformational benefits in a variety of functional areas. However, threats can arise, internet based threats can disrupt business. Therefore the maintenance and protection of Ireland’s cyber infrastructure is critical.”