Longford County Councillor Seamus Butler relishing new SME Growth Taskforce role

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Cllr Seamus Butler (FF).

Fianna Fáil's Seamus Butler has been appointed to serve on the Government's new SME Growth Taskforce

A key government led body designed at underpinning the State's hard pressed small and medium firms sector will have a Longford voice among its ranks over the coming months, in the form of Longford County Councillor Seamus Butler.

The experienced local businessman took his place a the first meeting of the Government's new SME Growth Taskforce.

The Taskforce, by its design, is composed of a broad range of business people with expertise across a range of sectors, as well as SME representative groups and other individuals all with the aim of breathing new life into the sector.

“I think when they saw my CV, the fact I have been chair of ISME (Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association) as well as an exporter was appealing to them as one of the things they are looking at is internationalising SMEs,” said Cllr Butler.

The Fianna Fáil group leader inside Longford County Council has long advocated the need for greater supports to be made available to small and medium sized firms.

In describing the industry as a “cinderella” sector of commercial life which has suffered from economic hardship in recent times, Cllr Butler said he hoped his input would help arrest that tide over the weeks and months ahead.

“I have been over 40 years in business and whatever expertise I can bring to the table I will,” he said, adding he also served as President of the Forum on Public Procurement.

One aspect of the SME sector Cllr Butler hopes to address is the deluge of bureaucratic red tape companies continue to face.

“We have one of the most centralised governments there is,” he said.

“For example, Longford County Council can't even buy stationary from ratepayers in its own county. That's the type of nonsense that is going on.”

The former Chamber of Commerce President also revealed he has since applied for membership to sub committee specifically dealing with entrepreneurship and internationalisation.

It's envisaged the forum will press ahead with plans to devise a report by the middle of November as it bids to revive an industry still reeling from the after-effects of Covid-19.

According to CSO figures, the SME sector accounts for 99.8pc of business in the economy and employs more than two-thirds of its workers.