ICT Ireland slates science research spending cuts

21 Aug 2003

IBEC’s tech sector lobby group ICT Ireland has attacked the Government over reports that science research funding to Irish universities and colleges under the National Development Plan may be under threat of being cut. The body says that the looming cuts send the wrong signals to overseas investors.

Calling on the Government to meet its commitments set out under the National Development Plan, ICT Ireland director Brendan Butler said: “If we wish to retain our reputation as a location of choice for foreign direct investment, we need to be encouraging additional research in this country rather that cutting off the supply line.”

Butler also attacked the rising cost base in Ireland, describing Ireland as no longer a low cost economy to Irish-based ICT companies that are facing rising costs in producing their products and service and facing competition from existing and emerging markets.

“We have a high cost base and this requires us to provide higher value goods and services. The high-tech sector is particularly appropriate when we talk about ‘moving up the value chain,” he warned.

Butler said: “One of the great competitive advantages Ireland has had over the past decade was our well-educated young workforce. As we need to move up the value chain we need a greater number of people with postgraduate qualifications. This was recognised in the National Development Plan and a number of initiatives were taken to accelerate postgraduate studies.”

By John Kennedy