The agencies (IDA(Ireland) and Enterprise Ireland) have power to facilitate provision of sites for the establishment for the establishment, development and maintenance of industrial undertakings. They may acquire land by agreement compulsorily. They may construct, adopt and maintain buildings and provide services for the same. The agencies may make grants to entities which themselves construct or adopt buildings for business. The agencies enjoys certain exemptions from stamp duty.
The agencies may make a grant on such terms as they consider appropriate towards the cost of fixed assets or industrial undertakings. The grant is not to exceed 60% of the cost of fixed assets in a designated area or 45% elsewhere. The IDA must be satisfied that the undertaking will produce products for sale primarily on the world markets.
The undertaking must satisfy the agency that the financial assistance is necessary to ensure the development or establishment of the undertaking, that it is commercially viable, that it has an adequate equity base, that there is a suitable company development plan, that it will provide employment (new or maintained in the State, that would not otherwise be secured and that it will increase output and value out in the economy.
In the case of the small industrial undertaking as defined, by the Minister may make a grant on such terms as they consider proper, in connection with the cost or fixed assets which have been leased for the purpose of an industrial undertaking, which meets certain criteria. The grant is not to exceed 60% of the cost of the assets in a designated area or 45% outside of it.
The agencies make grants towards reducing interest rates on loan provided for the acquisition of fixed assets of the business. The limits are 60% or 45% of costs, as above
The agencies may guarantee repayment of monies, up to a certain maximum percentage borrowed in respect of the assets of an industrial undertaking or interest on such monies or both. The guarantee will be subject to such terms as are specified by the relevant scheme. In the case of guarantees over a certain amount, the permission of the Government is required.
The agencies may make employment grants to service industries on such terms as they considers proper, towards the employment of persons in the State. An employment grant may be made where the undertaking will contribute significantly to regional and national development, would be commercially viable, have good prospects for growth which would not be developed in the absence of the employment grant. The cap for employment grants is specified by time to time by the Minister. There is an overall cap on grants that can be given to a single undertaking without ministerial consent.
Loans may be guaranteed and interest subsidies may be given for the purpose of restructuring industry. There are limits on the amounts and terms of the loan restructuring.
Guarantees of loans and interest subsidies may be given for enterprise development to suitably qualified persons. They must conform to criteria established by the relevant scheme. The may be made available to a suitably qualified individual who is not and has not previously been the owner of an undertaking. There are limits on the percentage contribution available and there are overall caps.
Training grants may be made after consultation with Solas n such terms as may be thought proper. The undertaking must confirm with the above mentioned criteria. The training grant may be made for the purpose of positions of supervision or management in an industrial undertaking or for the engagement of instructors, technical advisors or consultants, who train such persons. There are overall caps on the amounts of training grant and the amounts that maybe given to a particular industry.
Following consultation with designated bodies, the agencies may make research grants in such terms as they think proper, towards the cost of research and development. The research must have as its primary objective, the promotion or development of new or improved industrial processes, methods or products as are likely involve in the use or development of local materials, products or natural resources or offer prospects of expansion in existing industry, promotions of new industry or increased industrial employment. They must be carried out wholly or mainly in the State or be sponsored by one or more industrial undertakings in the State.
There are limitations on the amounts and percentages of the approved research costs which may be met by the grant. The approved costs in relation to a particular research grant, means expenditure which the agency is satisfied has been or will be incurred in promoting the project concerned. It may include the provision of sites or premises, plant, equipment and materials, fees or other remunerations to technical advisors, salaries and wages of persons engaging in the project and certain associated overhead costs .There are overall limitations on the amounts that maybe paid.
Following consultation with such bodies as may be specified, the Minister may make a technology acquisition grant on such terms he thinks proper, for the cost of acquiring certain products or process technology. The undertaking must conform to certain, similar to those mentioned above.
The product or process technology may include patents, industrials designs trade marks, trade secrets, copyright, proprietary and non proprietary information and techniques. The e acquisition of the products or process technology must have as its primary purpose, the improvement of the technological capability of one or more undertakings and the production or application of advanced industrial processes or products in the State.
There are limitations on the percentage of cost which may be met and the overall expenditure incurred on any one undertaking. Approved cost may include the cost of acquiring a license or knowledge, payment of fees and remuneration to technical advisors or salary and wages of persons engaged in the acquisition of the technology.
The agencies have power to purchase and take shares in a company on such terms as it sees fit. The shares are registered in the name of the Minister for Finance.
The agencies have power to grant and arrange reductions of factory rents. There are overall aggregate percentages and limits.
Where there is a contravention of a term or condition attached to a grant, the amount may be repayable to the agency and may be recovered by it as a simple contract debt.
The Industrial Development Act, 2009 enabled the extension of the upper financial limits on grants payable by the industrial agencies. It extends designated areas to cover the entire Border, Midland and Western region. The increase in thresholds for permissible aids was 50% in most cases.
The threshold for R&D grants had been set at 50% of that applicable to other grants, such as capital, employment and training grants. This reflected the earlier position, whereby the type of R&D projects had been smaller in scale. The 2009 Act applies the same thresholds to R&D grants, as apply to other grants.
The increased grants limited are as follows:
- employment grants to industry; €7.5M;
- training grants to industry;€7.5M;
- R&D grants to industry; €7.5M;
- purchase of shares €7.5,
- aggregate limit on investment aid; €7.5M.
The Industrial Development Act, 1986 provided certain maximum capital grants given to a company outside designated areas is 45% of the cost of its assets. EU State Aid Rules allowed capital grants in Border, Midland and Western regions up to 50%. The 2009 Act amended cumulative aggregates on grants to industry and to industrial centres.
The Industrial Development Acts contains provision for an overall limit and the aggregate amount of grants paid by development agencies to company. This had been reviewed in 2003. The 2009 Act increased the limits from €3.4 billion to €7 billion reflecting contemplated grant expenditure on enterprise development under the National Development Plan to the end of 2013.
The 2009 Act also amended certain existing legislation in relation to Forfas, Shannon Development and Enterprise Ireland.
The Industrial Development (Science Foundation Ireland) Act, 2013 amended the legalisation which prevented Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland from providing and administering grants and other financial facilities in the Shannon free zone is removed.
Forfas was enabled to request statistics from public bodies for the purpose of research and development for the purpose of EU regulations on collection of statistics on science and technology. Forfas is to co-operate with the Central Statistics Office the fulfil the EU requirements.
The Industrial Development (Amendment) Act 2019 afforded lending powers to Enterprise Ireland. It made other provisions related to support for research, development and innovation (RDI) in several critical sectors.
Enterprise Ireland was given powers to offer enhanced support to companies involved in research and development. It may fund R&D in the horticulture sector and to partly fund R&D undertaken outside of Ireland by Irish based companies.
The act removed the 50% cap set in national legislation on the R&D grant rate to allow Enterprise Ireland fund within permissible EU State Aid rules and allows Enterprise Ireland prefund R&D grants to companies of all sizes.
The capital funding that can be provided to IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland from €7 Billion to €14 Billon. Primary legislation currently sets a statutory limit of €7 Billion on the aggregate capital funding , as of end 2018 was €6.543 Billon
The Industrial Development (Amendment) Act 2019 permitted Enterprise Ireland to lend, participate in certain types of follow-on investments. Government approval is required for investment amounts or loans in excess of €7.5 million for any client. Providing Enterprise Ireland with the powers to facilitate additional lending/investment instruments in certain circumstances, increases the flexibility to support enterprise development and to manage its investments on a par with private sector investors. Such additional powers will help to preserve the value of the State’s investments in these businesses and will assist companies through restructuring or re-development programmes.
Absorption of Forfas
The 2014 Act makes provision for the dissolution of Forfás; to transfer certain functions of Forfás to Enterprise Ireland, the IDA, the Health and Safety Authority of Ireland and the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation;
Enterprise Ireland and subsidiaries of Enterprise Ireland may employ staff subject to the consent of the Minister and the approval of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.
Staff of Forfás seconded to National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) provides for Forfás staff seconded to or working under the direction of the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) to transfer to the NSAI on terms and conditions of service relating to remuneration and superannuation no less favourable than those applying before the transfer.
References in any enactment to Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland or SFI as an agency of Forfás shall be construed as a reference to Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland or SFI as appropriate.
The functions in Forfás were transferred to Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland as appropriate in accordance with the Schedule. Other functions vested in Forfás other than those mentioned were transferred to the Minister.
Irish National Accreditation Board
The functions of accreditation were vested in Forfás and undertaken by the Irish National Accreditation Board (INAB) which operated as a division of Forfás. INAB accreditation functions and staff were transfered from Forfás to the Health & Safety Authority (HSA) by the 2014 Act.
The HSA is to carry out accreditation in accordance with the powers and functions transferred and Regulation (EC) No 765/08 in so far as it relates to accreditation.
Irish National Accreditation Board
The Committee established by the Board of Forfás, known as the Irish National Accreditation Board became a committee of the Authority and sets out operational procedures for INAB.
Appeals to Appeals Board
The 2014 Act s ets out the procedures in relation to the making of an appeal against a decision of the Accreditation Board or the failure of the Accreditation Board to make a decision.