I am pleased to report that Enterprise Irelandís clients produced a strong performance in 2006, with significant growth in exports, total sales and net job gains. Our clients achieved Ä1.699 billion in new export sales and reached a new high in total export sales of Ä11.779 billion.
This impressive performance in 2006 is a direct result of the ambitious exporting strategies being implemented by our client companies in international markets. These strategies drove solid growth in our client base and exceptional performance in a number of companies.
Total employment in Enterprise Ireland-supported companies was 141,091 in 2006. Client companies created 11,893 new jobs, of which 8,532 were first-time job gains. Overall job losses were 10,632 resulting in a net increase in employment of 1,261.
A thriving indigenous industry is central to Irelandís continued economic growth and makes an impact all over the country. Enterprise Ireland client companies spend over Ä16 billion yearly on home-sourced goods, services, and on payroll at a local level. This is a considerable input to local communities and economies, and therefore a crucial contribution to sustaining the nationís economic success and prosperity.
Responsible corporate governance
Enterprise Irelandís Board of Directors is committed to achieving the highest standards of corporate governance, commensurate with the organisationís responsibilities as a statutory agency. We apply the principles of good governance, set out in the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies (Department of Finance, October 2001).
The Board and management are committed to ensuring that all our activities, whether covered specifically or not in the code, are governed by the ethical and other considerations implicit within it.
Board and staff changes
In July 2006, Gus Fitzpatrick and Elaine Farrell retired from membership of the Board of Enterprise Ireland in accordance with Section 9 (8) and (9) of the Industrial Development (Enterprise Ireland) Act 1998. On behalf of the Board, I thank Gus and Elaine most sincerely for the quality of their commitment and contribution.
From 1 January 2007 the authority and responsibility for developing indigenous industry in the Mid West region reverted to Enterprise Ireland from Shannon Development. I welcome our new staff to the team, and I am confident that their valuable experience will play an active and important role in achieving Enterprise Irelandís ambitious targets. I look forward to the establishment of a substantial Enterprise Ireland presence in Shannon during 2007.
Support from Government departments and partners
Enterprise Ireland received excellent support from Government departments in 2006. For this I thank the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment; the Department of the Taoiseach; the Department of Foreign Affairs; the Department of Agriculture and Food; the Department of Education and Science; the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources; and the Department of Finance.
I would like to record my thanks to all other bodies with which Enterprise Ireland has worked in partnership, including Forfás; IDA Ireland; Shannon Development; Údarás na Gaeltachta; Science Foundation Ireland; Bord Bia; Bord Iascaigh Mhara; FÁS; the Higher Education Authority; other State agencies, industry associations and third-level institutions.
I also take this opportunity to recognise the close working relationships that have been established between Enterprise Ireland, InterTradeIreland and Invest Northern Ireland.
It is my pleasure to work alongside such partners for the benefit of Irish industry.
I especially want to recognise the hard work and professionalism of the staff of Enterprise Ireland in the achievement of such strong results this year. Their individual and collective responses continue to make the difference that is required to meet and exceed the needs of our clients in Ireland and internationally.
Patrick J Molloy