56% of business leaders wish to extend Confidence and Supply Agreement

Business, Irish News | Mon 30 Apr | Author – Business & Finance
maura-quinn-institute-of-directors
Maura Quinn, CEO, Institute of Directors (IoD) in Ireland

The Institute of Directors (IoD) in Ireland Director Sentiment Monitor shows that a slight majority of business leaders are in favour of extending the government and Fianna Fáil Confidence and Supply Agreement.

The new quarterly survey, launched last week by the IoD in Ireland, showed that directors wished to extend the agreement from three years to five years.

Out of the 302 chief executives, senior executives, non-executive directors and chairpersons, 56% were in favour of the extension, 20% were neutral and a further 20% were opposed to the idea.

Considering the current performance of the running of the country, 70% of business leaders feel the Irish government is performing good to excellent.

Over half (52%) said they are optimistic about the Irish economy now, compared to the end of last year where 38% reported no change in levels of optimism.

With the announcement of Project Ireland 2040 not so long ago, the people surveyed were asked to outline the critical points in relation to Ireland’s future development – 66% want to see a rise in infrastructure spending, 63% on housing investment and 39% on Brexit preparation.

Maura Quinn, CEO of the IoD in Ireland, said: “While directors are broadly supportive of the government’s performance to date, it should be noted that only a marginal majority favour an extension of the Confidence and Supply Agreement. Clearly there is work to be done to improve optimism and extend the positive rating by business into a buy-in for long-term support of the government.”

On competing for business internationally post Brexit, only 40% were in agreement that Ireland is well prepared while 36% say the country is not well equipped.

The main concerns are housing supplies (50%), availability of talent with keys skills (46%), border controls/delays (31%) and trade barriers (29%).

Directors are somewhat positive in terms of business performance, with 57% expecting it to improve in the second quarter of 2018, rising to 64% in 2019.

Business challenges were seen with the coming of Storm Emma – 84% of companies shut their doors for one or more days; 45% reported a moderate to major impact on productivity and nearly a third (33%) stated that there was a moderate to major impact on employment costs.

The single biggest risk facing companies is labour sourcing and retention (26%). Nearly half (48%) of organisations have increased employees numbers in the first quarter of 2018 with 41% of business leaders reporting no change and 8% decreasing numbers.