I recently met with the Wicklow Town & District Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday and representatives of the Arklow Business Association on Friday ahead of Budget 2015.

There are some issues that are affecting businesses in both towns; commercial rates, social welfare traps and the need to cut of red tape for businesses were all raised. But in Arklow businesses were particularly concerned by the road works and the one way system on the Main Street and the ongoing lack of water treatment for the town. While Wicklow’s businesses raised issues like social protection for the self-employed and the opportunity for Enterprise Ireland to help smaller firms that want to expand.

We need national Government that understands and supports SMEs, not strangles their growth. Our indigenous businesses are integral to the recovery that we are beginning to experience. Seven out of 10 people in Ireland work for an SME. Therefore, it is vital that we make it quicker and easier to build a business in Ireland. I’m committed to representing the needs of our businesspeople in Dáil Éireann.

I would like to thank everyone who took the time to come and discuss the problems that businesses in Wicklow are experiencing. I look forward to engaging with many of these issues in the coming months and working with the Chambers of Commerce and business groups to advocate for reforms that will support our SMEs and allow them to employ more people and contribute to economic recovery.”