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'Back your own' and help Irish business - Cowen

Source: www.irishtimes.com

Taoiseach Brian Cowen yesterday called on Irish people to show a sense of patriotism and “back your own” to help bolster the survival of Irish companies and services.

He also expressed concern that the current public procurement system may be excluding Irish companies that were adequately equipped to carry out the contracts or services put out to tender. He also said that risk aversion to new ideas and concepts had to stop, and there should be a willingness to back ideas that might fail or succeed.

Speaking in Tullamore yesterday, Mr Cowen suggested indigenous Irish companies were losing out when tendering for public procurement contracts in Ireland.

In comments which suggested the current system may go against some Irish companies, he said he had been contacted by people, both at local and national level, who said the current system had led to Irish enterprises finding themselves excluded from tenders. He said jobs were at stake as a result, and the same situation did not pertain in other countries facing a recession like Ireland was facing.

Stressing that the public procurement process needed to fair, he nonetheless went on to say: “We have to be mindful of that, to try to make sure that we put out our tendering processes in such a way that it encourages our people to put in. Many good people out there provide a good service down through the years and there is no reason to go elsewhere when they know in their heart and soul that there are good products among our people at home.”

Mr Cowen called upon a sense of patriotism among Irish people, and said it was important that people support Irish goods and services. “I do say that we have to back our own and not be expectant on what comes from abroad. That applies across all services. [We need to help] people to keep jobs to keep the show on the road.”

He also said the culture of risk aversion in Ireland had to stop.

Mr Cowen was speaking at the opening of a new factory for local company Automotive Technology Systems and Research Limited. It manufactures control systems for emergency vehicles like ambulances, police cars and army vehicles. It employs 23 people and hopes to double its workforce to 50 by 2011. It has also established a presence in Canada.

Congratulating the company on its success, Mr Cowen said: “Export growth is a dynamic process and, in order to maintain and step up growth in overseas markets, it is essential to encourage and support companies to widen their horizons and seize the opportunities for selling abroad.”

 






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