BaileNuachtCartlann Aitheasc agus Preaseisiúintí

Speech by the Taoiseach, Mr. Brian Cowen, T.D., at the opening of Expert Tullamore, Cloncollig, Friday, 23 October, 2009 at 4.30pm


A dhaoine uaisle,

Is mór agam gur roghnaigh Expert Ireland Tulach Mór chun a n-ionad miondíola earraí leictreachais is déanaí a oscailt. Is samplaí iontacha iad fiontair mhiondíola nua ar nós an siopa seo d'fhiontraíocht in Éirinn agus de mhuinín leanúnach i láidreacht ár ngeilleagar. Ba mhaith liom comhghairdeas a dhéanamh le gach duine a raibh baint acu le rathúlacht Expert go dtí seo agus guím gach rath ar an mbainistíocht agus ar an bhfoireann araon don todhchaí.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted that Expert Ireland has chosen Tullamore as the location for this new, state - of - the - art electrical retail outlet.

Anyone in any doubt about the central importance of electricity to our lives, needs only to consider the range of products available at Expert stores - everything from food mixers to laptops to the latest i-pods.

With 64 stores nationwide, Expert are Ireland's biggest electrical retailer and I have no doubt they would say 'the best'.

This is the flagship store for all Expert members, combining a strong brand message and excellent customer service. I know you have a first class sales team here in Cloncollig, with the Kilroys tradition of service behind them. This bodes well for the future.

The retail sector has, of course, been hard hit over the past year, with your own market facing particular challenges.

These are difficult times but the Government is determined to make the right choices, so that we get through the crisis and return to growth as quickly as possible.

There are strong indications that the tough decisions we have taken have stabilised the economy. However, we have a couple of difficult years ahead of us.

We have two core objectives:
to protect existing jobs in the economy, and
to start creating new jobs through export-led growth.

We have introduced temporary supports to help viable but vulnerable businesses survive through the current environment. We have also introduced a range of programmes to help those who lose their jobs during the downturn. I would like, by the way, to commend Expert for re-employing staff from the electrical part of Kilroys, following its closure a few years ago.

Future growth depends on a return to competitiveness which allows us to sell more goods and services on international markets.

Competitiveness means reducing costs but it goes further than that. It also means being a high productivity economy, which is flexible and open to change.

Innovation is at the centre of this vision for the future our ability to develop new products and services and to sell them on world markets. That is why we have placed so much emphasis on innovation in our strategy Building Ireland's Smart Economy.

In the last few weeks, we have taken some important steps forward.

The Lisbon Treaty has been passed, removing a source of uncertainty on international markets.

The renewed Programme for Government has provided internal stability, while setting out an ambitious agenda of reforms, including the goal of many new jobs in the high tech and green enterprise areas.

The NAMA legislation has also made progress through the Dáil. This legislation is an essential step in getting the banks back to their core business lending to small enterprises and consumers.

The next, vital, step on the road to recovery is to stabilize the public finances in the forthcoming Budget. We cannot keep borrowing money and increasing the national debt at the current rate in the 1980s we learnt how that approach leads nowhere.

In the past, we also found that constant increases in the tax burden damages enterprise and growth.

At the end of the 1980s, we learnt that decisive action to bring the public finances under control pays dividends. We face very difficult decisions in the Budget, but strong action will help to restore confidence in the economy.

Of course, the key to recovery will be flesh and blood, hardworking people like yourselves. New retail ventures such as this Expert store in Tullamore are an excellent example of Irish entrepreneurship and point to continued confidence in the future of our economy. I know that Expert members have invested in new stores in other parts of the country over the past twelve months and that there are plans for expansion over the coming years. I am delighted to see this strong focus on success: we must go forward with confidence.

I would like to wish everyone involved with Expert here in Tullamore and throughout the country every success for the future.

I have no doubt that, with the strong track record of management and staff alike, these stores will continue to thrive for many years to come.

Thank you for your attention.