221. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the progress to date regarding filling positions for the allocation made in budget 2018 to recruit a further 40 to 50 staff to supplement existing staffing numbers in her Department and agencies under her remit, as a Brexit measure. (Question 20099/18 asked on 08 May 2018)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): In my Department, a dedicated Brexit Unit was established in 2016, led at Assistant Secretary level within the EU Affairs and Trade Policy Division, to coordinate and represent the Department and it’s Agencies response to Brexit.  During 2017, this Unit increased its staffing complement to lead on engagements with a broad range of stakeholder to further inform and validate this response.

Given the wide mission my Department has and the continuing impact on all policy matters, officers across all policy areas of my Department may deal with Brexit-related issues.

In this context, staff expertise has been drawn from across a number of different policy areas, and these staff have been assigned to a number of additional postings across the whole Department that have been most impacted by Brexit.  We are continually prioritising the Brexit challenges and will actively keep the staffing requirements under review through workforce planning during 2018.

The State Agencies, listed below, received an additional pay allocation in Budget 2018 to manage the impact of Brexit. It is important to note however that the work of very many Business Units both within my Department and it’s Agencies are impacted by Brexit and are responding to it outside of the specific numbers mentioned below.

Enterprise Ireland

In 2018, Enterprise Ireland was allocated €1.3 million to recruit approximately 20 additional staff members.  To date two positions have been filled and the Agency is actively recruiting the remaining positions.

IDA

Budget 2018 saw the Authority allocated an additional €700,000 to further reinforce its staffing levels. The Authority is using this funding to create 10 new positions across a range of areas in the organisation.  9 of 10 posts are filled to date. It will also be used to hire five more graduates on fixed term rolling three year contracts.

Health and Safety Authority

The Health and Safety Authority received an allocation of €400k for Brexit related posts for 2018.  Following a review of its Workforce Plan the Authority identified relevant posts to be filled and my Department has given sanction to fill seven inspector posts at this stage. The Health and Safety Authority will commence the recruitment process for these positions in the coming weeks.

It should be noted that previous sanction was given in late 2017 for the filling of a new Brexit related Accreditation Officer post in the Irish National Accreditation Board (INAB) within the Health and Safety Authority. That recruitment process has recently been completed and the successful candidate is expected to take up the position in early June.

Science Foundation Ireland

SFI were allocated an additional €400k in Budget 2018 and has filled four posts which have Brexit related activities attached to their roles.