A pre-Brexit Budget with no sweeties… Economist Dr Stephen Kinsella states at Shannon Chamber Budget 2020 Briefing

Dr Stephen Kinsella, Professor of Economics at the University of Limerick (centre) pictured at Bunratty Castle Hotel with (from let): Kevin Devenney, director Grant Thornton; Ian Barrett, director and Helen Downes, chief executive, Shannon Chamber; Lisa Chapman, tax manager, Theresa O’Gorman, tax director and Damian Gleeson, managing partner, Grant Thornton. Photo: Eamon Ward.


Competitive Route Fund for Irish airports a welcome development

Having called for measures to support infrastructure investment and regional connectivity at Shannon Airport in its pre-Budget submission to Government and as part of a collaborative call, via the publication of the Copenhagen Economics Report, launched last week by the Chambers in Shannon, Limerick, Ennis and Galway, Shannon Chamber welcomes the announcement in Budget 2020 of a competitive route fund for Irish airports. This paves the way for the delivery of one aspect of balanced regional development and is a positive step towards making the delivery of the National Planning Framework: Ireland 2040 a reality rather than an aspiration.

Commenting on Budget 2020, Shannon Chamber director Ian Barrett said: “As stated in our pre-budget submission and on so many occasions in the past few months, connectivity is a key requirement in our quest to attract jobs to our regions and in ensuring an equitable distribution of economic growth in Ireland.

“Regional airports are key instruments of economic growth and the competitive fund announced in Budget 2020, confirms that the request of Shannon and the collective Chambers in the region has been listened to. We look forward to seeing how an allocation from this fund will assist Shannon Airport in attracting new routes for the business and leisure sectors.”

Speaking at a Budget briefing in Bunratty today, organised by Shannon Chamber and Grant Thornton, Professor of Economics at the University of Limerick, Dr Stephen Kinsella said: “Budget 2020 was the budget we needed to have. With Brexit looming, which will be a sectoral and regional shock, and with the economic outlook exceptionally uncertain in that we don’t know what form the emergency may be like, in delivering Budget 2020, Minister Donohoe was dealing with an extraordinary amount of uncertainty.

“It’s easy and facile to see who won and who lost; when you look at the detail, the large print giveth and the small print giveth away. Everyone got a little bit of something: Budget 2020 is us growing up. The Finance Act will introduce a lot of amendments  and provide the scope to change things. It’s a more important event,” he stated.

Commenting on the Budget overall, and against the Chamber’s pre-Budget requests, Shannon Chamber director Ian Barrett concurred with Grant Thornton’s tax director, Theresa O’Gorman and tax manager, Lisa Chapman, who also presented at the briefing in stating that the range of supports for the business sector announced in Budget 2020 are welcome, most notably the improvements to research and development (R&D) tax credits from 25% to 30%, pre-trading R&D expenditure allowed for micro and small companies subject to limits and the rate increase for third-level institutes from 5% to 15%.

Mr Barrett also welcomed the increase in earned income credit to €1,500, the increase from €10m to €30m allocated to the disruptive technologies innovation fund, the €9m to sustainable mobility projects and the €40m for specific tourism initiatives.

Referring to infrastructural improvements included in the Budget, Mr Barrett added: “The provision for the roll-out of the much-promised high-speed broadband and the allocation of funding for the delivery of an upgraded M20 Limerick to Cork motorway are most welcome inclusions.”