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Tag Archives: EU

Breen in Budapest to discuss Brexit

Minister for Employment and Small Business, Pat Breen TD travelled to Hungary this week  for a series of bilateral meetings with his EU counterparts. These meetings form part of an ongoing programme of engagement by Irish government Ministers with EU Member States in an effort to build awareness of the unique impacts of Brexit on Ireland and to hear fellow Member State views regarding Brexit. To date there has been over 400 engagements undertaken by the Irish Government with remaining EU member states and the EU institutions regarding Brexit. During the course of the Minister’s two- day visit to Hungary, he met with the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Lázsló Szabó, State Secretary for EU Affairs, Szabolcs Takács, and State Secretary at the Ministry of National Economy, Mr István Lepsényi. Minister Breen used these meetings to set out the significance of the impact on Ireland of the UK’s departure from the EU, and conveyed the unique nature …

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Small firms’ ‘Toolkit’ for Brexit

The Small Firms Association (SFA) has, following the triggering of Article 50 by the British Government, published a toolkit for small businesses to help them to practically prepare for Brexit. Sue O’Neill, SFA chair, commented, “Whilst many factors are outside our control, it is important for each small business to assign senior management responsibility to assessing the impact on their own business, and developing contingency plans for likely impacts. Companies should pay particular focus to assessing the potential impacts of currency movements, along with supply chain, commercial contracts, finance and funding and workforce considerations. They should also reassess the impact on technology, in particular issues around data sharing, likely changes to regulation and market access, and change their own operating structures accordingly.” Ms O’Neill emphasised the singular impacts of Brexit on Ireland, over and above other EU members states, and called on the EU Commission to prioritise these concerns in their negotiating strategy. “The UK is a key marketplace for …

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EU research funding for Shannon SME

A SHANNON company is set to receive a share of €10 million in funding from the EU’s scientific research fund. AltraTech has been named among five small Irish companies with big ideas awarded with the funding to help get their ideas to market. The company has developed a portable battery-operated kit for the quick detection of the HIV virus. It is expected that the inexpensive, disposable kit could dramatically improve HIV management worldwide. The five Irish SMEs will receive EU grants of up to €2.5 million each from the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument Phase 2 funding. The grant is for innovative small firms to get ideas from the lab to the market and help generate growth and jobs in Europe. Through the funding, the SMEs can finance innovation activities such as demonstration, testing, piloting, scaling up and miniaturisation, in addition to developing a mature business plan for their product. The companies involved in the projects will also benefit from 12 …

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EU focus on ageing

Minister Helen Mc Entee is in Brussels today (Tuesday) to address a conference on Active Ageing and Mental Health. She is there on the invitation MEP South Deirdre Clune and the conference was organised by the European Peoples Party and Mental Health Europe. A group of about 40 MEPs and key representatives from European mental health and active ageing organisations are at the conference, which is being addressed by various experts from around Europe. The main theme of the one day conference is ‘Ensuring opportunities and participation in society at all ages’ – and relevant policy issues covered included why active ageing matters, the European dimension of active ageing, and Mental Health and Active Ageing in the workplace. Discussions are centring on how best EU countries can progress this important issue over coming years, particularly given looming demographic pressures.

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EU boost for natural gas plant

THE proposed Shannon liquefied natural gas plant, between Tarbert and Ballylongford, County Kerry, across the estuary from Killimer, received much-needed EU support this week. MEP Seán Kelly secured the backing of his EU counterparts to prioritise the development of such energy supplies in Europe’s future gas strategy. As co-author of the European Parliament’s report EU Strategy for Liquefied Natural Gas and Gas Storage, Mr Kelly secured the backing of MEPs belonging to the parliament’s International Trade Committee, who voted in favour of supporting the development of LNG supplies, such as that which could be supplied from Kerry. “In 2015, 41% of gas imports from outside the EU came from Russia. Reducing dependence on Russian gas is vital for the EU and therefore, increasing our home-grown LNG supplies is essential,” said Kelly, EPP group spokesman for energy and specifically for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). In the report, Mr Kelly points to a Polish example whereby a new LNG terminal there will diversify …

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Young adults back EU

Irish support for the European Union remains very high and is growing, in particular among young adults, according to a new poll. The Red C poll, commissioned by European Movement Ireland, found 90% support for the EU among Irish people, and that 87% believe that Ireland has, on balance, benefited from the European Union. At 94%, support for Ireland’s EU membership is even higher among young adults in the 18-24 age bracket, up from 85% in 2015. Commenting on the poll findings, Dara Murphy, Minister of State for European Affairs, said, “The findings are particularly significant, coming less than a month before the United Kingdom, our nearest neighbour, goes to the polls on the question of its continued EU membership.” “I’m particularly delighted to see very high support for the EU among young people, with support among the 18-24 age group having increased considerably on last year, to reach 94%.” “Coming from a small open country, I think Irish people …

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Leader’s important contribution to Clare

THE importance of Leader funding to communities in County Clare is set to be raised with the European Commission. The EU rural development fund supports community and economic development in towns, villages and rural areas across Europe. The rollout of the 2014-2020 programme has still not been announced by the Department of the Environment. Speaking from Strasbourg, Liadh Ní Riada, MEP, said the funding must be made available to communities. “The Leader programme delivers much-needed investment to community projects and small businesses outside of our big cities. It is a vital support for so many projects that drive local economies and improve the quality of life in rural Ireland. “Many community projects are ready to proceed with projects and have been waiting for almost two years for this funding to come on stream. “The preparation for the 2014-2016 programme have been marked by confusion, mismanagement and silence from government. “It’s not even clear what organisations will be delivering the programme …

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MEP Kelly leads energy talks

Ireland South MEP, Seán Kelly, has been appointed as lead negotiator and spokesman on European energy consumer issues on behalf of the European People’s Party. The talks underway in Brussels, aim to deliver a new deal for energy consumers and seek to increase the transparency of prices and better empower consumers to lower their energy bills, according to the leader of Fine Gael in the parliament. Mr Kelly, Ireland’s only full member of the Parliament’s Committee on Industry Research and Energy (ITRE), spoke of the work as being a “massive opportunity” to ease the burden on already stretched household budgets. “Years of austerity have been tough on Irish families. Even though our economy is now growing rapidly, the majority of households are yet to feel the benefit – it has not yet made its way into Irish homes. One way we can spread economic growth around the country is by putting money back in people’s pockets. “Taking measures to lower …

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