Dáil Éireann - Volume 398 - 22 May, 1990

Written Answers. - Import Substitution.

32. Mr. Bell asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he accepts the findings of the Small Firms Association report indicating that the linkage programme has failed to garner the hoped for increase in the subcontracting of [2270] orders to Irish suppliers and manufacturers by multinational companies as opposed to such multinationals importing the materials and subassemblies on a large scale; if he will outline the plans which are in place, or being formulated, to continue to promote import substitution, in view of the job creation potential it has, particularly considering the recent abolition of the Irish Goods Council; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. O'Malley): I do not accept that the national linkage programme has failed in its objective of developing the sub-supply capability of Irish firms dealing with the multinationals.

I believe that the most effective means of achieving import substitution is to develop a native supply capability which can match the overseas competition in terms of product quality, competitiveness, prompt delivery and backup service.

The national linkage programme plays a role in “grooming” Irish firms to meet the exacting standards of the multinationals.

In addition, the Irish Goods Council, which I can assure the Deputy is still very much in existence, provide a comprehensive range of support services to develop the marketing capability of Irish firms trading on the domestic market. Indeed, over the past two years the Government have increased the council's grant-in-aid by 80 per cent so as to strengthen their work in this area. These additional resources have not only copperfastened existing services but have enabled the council to introduce a new innovative programme aimed specifically at developing the capacity of our firms to meet overseas competition on the domestic market. All of these measures are described in detail in the Programme for Industrial Development 1989-1993 which is available to Deputies in the Dáil Library.

As is the case with all agencies involved in the implementation of industrial policy, the role and functions of the Irish [2271] Goods Council are being examined in the context of the triennial review of industrial policy. This review is now being finalised and the report thereon should be published shortly.