News & Events

Minister Bruton publishes new guide to Government supports for the manufacturing industry

Manufacturing sector – which suffered from neglect in previous decades – is a key part of the Action Plan for Jobs

Employment growth has returned to the sector with more than 12,000 extra jobs created in past 3 years 

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD today launched a new guide setting out the range of State supports available for the manufacturing sector. 

Ireland’s manufacturing base is a key pillar of Ireland’s economy supporting in 2015 direct employment of 218,000. While manufacturing employment declined in the decade 2000-2010, in recent years it has begun to increase again, and the sector forms a key part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs. 

Manufacturing is a key driver of research, development and innovation within Irish based firms.   Significantly these manufacturing operations are regionally distributed, providing employment opportunities throughout all regions of Ireland. 

As part of the Government’s plans to support employment growth in the manufacturing sector, a key step is to ensure that businesses in the sector become more aware of the Government supports that are available to support them in their expansion. This brochure sets out the general supports for the manufacturing sector on offer from various Government organisations and agencies. 

A wide range of State supports are now in place, many of them developed at different stages and adapted to the fast changing nature of the industry. To help develop the very diverse range of manufacturing activities carried out in Ireland, supports include:

  • grants
  • reskilling initiatives,
  • training measures,
  • technical support,
  • research measures,
  • export supports and more.


This new brochure brings together all these services in a single publication to assist the sector to tap into these supports and clarify the details of what is available from a range of Agencies and Bodies.

The brochure will be distributed by the Department’s key Agencies IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices. It will also be circulated to relevant business organisations/groups and is available on the Department’s website, where it will be updated as any initiatives are amended. 

Minister Bruton said: “Manufacturing is a key area which we have targeted as part of our Action Plan for Jobs. This is an area which was neglected in previous decades as Governments seemed to adopt a view that it was not an appropriate target for Ireland in a ‘knowledge economy’ era. The reality is that manufacturing must form a key part of a successful industrial strategy for Ireland. It is export intensive. It brings excellent capacity for employment across all regions of the country, and in a range of skill levels. Furthermore, there are many parts of manufacturing where Ireland has huge potential for growth, including advanced manufacturing, 3D printing, precision engineering and manufacturing in specific sectors like food and life sciences. 

“That is why manufacturing has played a key part in the Action Plan for Jobs since 2012, and why we developed and implemented a specific strategy for the manufacturing sector. 

“As part of these plans to grow manufacturing, it has become clear that one issue that businesses repeatedly face is difficulties accessing information on the range of Government supports that are available in the sector. that is why we committed, as part of the Action Plan for Jobs, to develop a new, user-friendly, comprehensive guide to those supports. 

“This brochure along with the website is a practical, helpful support for the manufacturing industry and I would urge anyone in the manufacturing area or thinking of setting up a business to be informed about the Government supports available to you” . 

The Minister concluded by praising the dynamic nature of the Irish manufacturing sector and highlighting the progress that had been achieved since he initiated the Action Plan for Jobs in 2012, with employment now over over 12,000 higher and a range of initiatives recommended in the Manufacturing Strategy and in the parallel Skills Report being implemented under the Action Plan for Jobs process over the last three years. He expressed confidence that the new guide will ensure that companies are fully aware of the wide range of supports being provided by the State to assist the sector. 

For further information contact Press Office, D/Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation ph. 6312200 or  

Background information for Editors .  


The Strategy for the Manufacturing Sector, was commissioned by Minister Bruton and published in April 2013. A complementary report on the skills needs for the sector, which he had commissioned at the same time, identified a series of actions to enhance skills in the sector. 

Arising from the Manufacturing Strategy and the Skills Report, there are now a range of initiatives in hand by relevant Agencies to achieve the 2016 target, with key actions from both reports having been incorporated into the Action Plans for Jobs for 2013, 2014 and 2015. Developing manufacturing was adopted as a Disruptive Reform and one of the key actions there is the delivery of a National Step Change initiative to strengthen Ireland’s manufacturing base. A wide range of training and educational initiatives are underway by the relevant providers, such as Skillnets. A new key Action which has been included in the 2015 Action Plan is a project to assess the business case for the possible establishment of an Innovative Manufacturing facility which could enhance Ireland’s manufacturing capability. 

New opportunities are emerging in manufacturing as a consequence of technological change in 3D printing, robotics and additive manufacturing, and also in the context of the development of smart products and the ‘Internet of Things’. These opportunities are being addressed as part of the Strategic Plans of Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland. 

The latest employment data for the sector, from the CSO’s Quarterly National Household Survey, shows that direct employment in manufacturing stood at 218,000 at June 2015. This is an increase of 12,300 from the level at the time the Strategy was compiled, which represents a very heartening outcome to date. When account is taken of indirect employment, the sector therefore now supports a total of 436,000 jobs and the trend is quite positive. 

Ireland’s manufacturing sector, which includes both multinational and indigenous firms, continues to deliver strong growth and job creation throughout the country, and is a key driver of innovation. Key sectors include Pharma and Bio Pharma, Medical Devices, Food, ICT and industrial products. These have played a strong role in Ireland’s economic recovery and will continue to be crucial to Ireland’s development over the coming decade. Government Agencies, working together with industry, will continue to influence and drive Ireland’s investment in its skills and capabilities to sustain and grow the existing and significant manufacturing asset base and to better position Ireland to win new investments in manufacturing into the future. 

Despite the considerable challenges in an internationally competitive environment, there is considerable potential for the manufacturing sector in Ireland, as we are strongly placed to create opportunities and employment in many higher- value sub sectors.

This brochure sets out the general supports for the manufacturing sector on offer from various government organisations and agencies. It is not a definitive guide for all time, as the type of supports will constantly be adapted to meet the ever changing manufacturing environment.  

Initiatives undertaken by Minister Bruton  

  1. Manufacturing Development Forum

A key proposal in the Action Plan for Jobs 2012 was that a Manufacturing Development Forumbe established to assist the Government in identifying the needs of manufacturing enterprises and to progress a transformation agenda. Minister Bruton therefore established such a Forum in June 2012 and it comprises key industry representatives and officials from relevant Agencies. 

Since its establishment, the main phase of the work of the Manufacturing Development Forum has been successfully completed. The Forum was fully engaged on the new Forfas Manufacturing Strategy and contributed a range of ideas and suggested priorities to that research. In addition, the Forum members participated in a range of workshops to identify solutions for the key challenges facing the sector. The Forum has continued as a consultative body, which will provide the Department with valuable insights on policy issues impacting on that sector, and is assisting in the implementation of the new Manufacturing Strategy. 

  • In 2014 Enterprise Ireland (EI) supported in excess of 130 firms across all levels and activities with the aim of increasing the uptake of Lean principles amongst that Agency’s clients. EI’s Lean Business Offer is designed to encourage clients to adopt Lean business principles in their organisation to increase performance and competitiveness.


  • In 2014 IDA supported 109 companies in manufacturing and services through its Client Transformation Programme. The Programme involves a range of instruments such as: employment, training, capital, R&D, environment and process improvement incentives to achieve technology uplifts, skills enhancement, energy improvements, productivity uplift and investments in new facilities and equipment.


  • These programmes are continuing in 2015. For example, the IDA initiated a new programme to support transformation and productivity improvement with funding of €1.5m. EI aim to support 115 companies in all levels and activities with their Lean programme.

  • D’JEI and Agencies are engaging with the promoters of the Techshop concept, a unique capacity building and innovative technology development process which has been very successful in the USA, to assess whether and how it might be introduced into Ireland.


  • The Agencies have been asked to assess the business case for the establishment, governance and funding of an innovative manufacturing facility to drive advanced manufacturing – e.g. additive manufacturing (also known as 3D printing), automation, systems integration and advanced packaging.


  • DJEI, through Science Foundation Ireland and Enterprise Ireland, have provided very extensive funding to establish Research Centres and Technology Centres which can provide an invaluable service to Irish industry, especially the Manufacturing Sector. These centres support the development of close business links between industry and the publicly –funded research system.