A total of just two civil servants have been delegated to tackle the ribbons of red tape snarling small business despite the promise by the government to tackle the €600m scourge, according to a report in The Sunday Independent, which has been championing this issue.

Mark Fielding, chief executive of the small business lobby group ISME, described the government’s promises as empty rhetoric. Commenting on Enterprise Minister Batt O’Keefe’s announcement last week that work was under way on a loan guarantee scheme, Fielding described it as “a total non-announcement”.

“He seems to specialise in that. He was speaking at an IBEC/SFA knees-up and he had to say something, but if that’s the best he can come up with, it’s not good. It’s a lot of waffle and rubbish, it’s exactly the same thing for the past two years.”

Fielding also branded O’Keeffe’s and Social Protection Minister Eamon O Cuiv’s plan to wean part-time workers off the dole and back to work as “up-in-the-air crap”.

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