Local Fianna Fáil TD, Frank O Rourke, has again highlighted the fact that the rising cost of living is affecting our competitiveness and is now affecting our ability to attract Foreign Direct Investment.

“As I have said before, Ireland is losing its competitiveness. Our cost of living expenses, including insurance, mortgage rates, rents and childcare, are the highest in the EU.”

“We have high motor and business insurance costs, and the Government progress on the implementation of the recommendations on the Motor Insurance Working Group has been slow to say the least.”

“We have the highest variable mortgage rates in the EU. This week we learned for example, that Permanent TSB’s Standard Variable Rate (SVR) of 4.5% for existing customers is ridiculously high. It is in stark contrast to the bank’s blended cost of funds of just 0.46%.”

“Exiting customers on a variable rate are paying €260 per month more that a new customer on a 2.95% fixed rate, with a mortgage of €300,000. This is a difference of €3000 per year.”

“The average standard variable rate for a mortgage in Ireland is currently 3.26%. This is nearly 1.5% higher than the average Eurozone rate which stands at 1.83%. Earlier this year, I called on the Government to press for the formation of a European Single Market for mortgages ”

“Day in day out, business owners and workers alike are crying out for action from the Government on the issue of the rising costs of living. If we had normal insurance and mortgage costs, there would be less wage inflation pressure and more money available for the local economy.”

“Ireland has fallen out of the Top 10 EU countries for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). This is a warning sign. Attracting FDI has been a key success factor in our economy with over 200,000 people employed directly or indirectly for these companies. Kildare is home to some of the most successful multinationals.

“In 2017, 37% of the State’s Corporate Tax receipts were paid by 10 companies. These 10 companies contributed €3.43 billion to the Exchequer and to the funding of much needed public services“

“Foreign Direct Investment has always had the core objective of creating jobs in this country. Sustainable taxes come from having quality, long term employment and a key component of this is to ensure that we are competitive,” concluded Deputy O’Rourkee, who has tabled a Parliamentary Question to the Minister for Business on what action the Government is taking to improve the country’s competitiveness.