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Who We Are

Department Structure

The Department is organised into eight Divisions which broadly reflect distinct functional units but there is also a substantial degree of co-operation and interaction between Divisions.

Innovation and Investment Division

Assistant Secretary: Declan Hughes

The Innovation and Investment Division carries policy and delivery management responsibility for the attraction of foreign direct investment to Ireland, enterprise innovation, intellectual property and North/South activities delivered through multiple agencies as set out below.

The Division has responsibility for:

  • contributing to the delivery of effective foreign direct investment (FDI) policy in Ireland by working with IDA Ireland and other Government Departments to ensure the Agency’s strategies are implemented as effectively and efficiently as possible
  • fostering and growing enterprise innovation through IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland;  innovation programmes through Enterprise Ireland includes programmes for in-company innovation, connecting enterprise to academic research, commercialisation of research from Higher Education Institutes and the creation of High Potential Start-Up companies. These programmes are aimed at driving exports and creating jobs
  • North/South issues and InterTrade Ireland, involving responsibilities for enterprise and innovation at all-island level
  • Intellectual Property policy and administration, to ensure Ireland delivers a world class IP management service. This mandate includes the Intellectual Property Office of Ireland (IPOI) in Kilkenny
  • National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI)

Indigenous Enterprise, SMEs and Entrepreneurship Division

Assistant Secretary: Pauline Mulligan

The overall goal of the Indigenous Enterprise, SMEs and Entrepreneurship Division is to work with relevant stakeholders to ensure that appropriate advisory and financial assistance is in place to promote and develop entrepreneurship, to help businesses to start, scale and export, to adjust to Brexit and COVID-19 associated public health measures and to work with stakeholders across the wider system to ensure a supportive business environment (for example, tax policy, skills availability).

The Division operates a suite of policies and schemes designed to assist and facilitate businesses at all stages of development and growth, from nascent and early-stage entrepreneurs to companies of scale trading internationally.

This includes working with the Division’s Agencies, Enterprise Ireland and the 31 Local Enterprise Offices together with support for the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCI) to ensure their supports are relevant and aligned to the evolving needs of business. The Division also provides research and technical assistance to the SME and Entrepreneurship Growth Taskforce and Implementation Group.

EU Affairs, Digital and Access to Finance Division

Assistant Secretary: Jean Carberry

The EU Affairs, Digital and Access to Finance Division plays an important role in ensuring the framework conditions are in place for a sustained and strong recovery by the enterprise sector.

The Division:

  • coordinates Ireland’s position at the Competitiveness Council, leads on policy for the Single Market in services, manages the Irish SOLVIT, Internal Market Information System (IMI) and Point of Single Contact services, and advances the Department’s EU agenda across government and at EU level; 
  • leads on Ireland’s positions on EU digital economy platform and artificial intelligence policy and regulation proposals that support our enterprise base, and on policy to support enterprise adoption of digital technologies, including artificial intelligence;
  • operates a suite of programmes designed to ensure that businesses of all sizes and at all stages of development can access appropriate financing to underpin their ambitions for growth; and
  • develops Ireland’s position on EU State aid policy, including providing support and advice across Government on State aid matters. 

Enterprise Strategy, Competitiveness and Evaluation Division

Assistant Secretary: David Hegarty

The Enterprise Strategy, Competitiveness and Evaluation Division works with other divisions in the Department and with other Government Departments with the aim of ensuring that policy supports a strong, competitive sustainable enterprise sector.

The Division provides evidence-based support to the work of the Department and works across government to enhance the business environment in areas such as skills, taxation, economic infrastructure, environmental sustainability, competitiveness and productivity. The enterprise, innovation and science surveys provide a key element of the policy research capability.

With the Department of An Taoiseach, the Division leads on the Government’s Future Jobs Ireland initiative. Future Jobs is a multi-year framework focused on key economic challenges including increasing SME productivity and raising labour market participation. It is also about positioning our economy and society to deal with the challenges of digitalisation and the transition to a low carbon economy.

The Enterprise Strategy, Competitiveness and Evaluation Division supports the work of the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) and the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN). Both the NCPC and EGFSN publish their advice and reports on their respective websites. It also supports the operations of the Low Pay Commission.

Trade Division

Assistant Secretary: Ronnie Downes

The Trade Division defines, coordinates and develops our position on EU policy matters and our relationship with EU Institutions to advance departmental EU priority measures.

It is responsible for the identification, formulation and development of Ireland’s international trade policies, including at European Union trade policy negotiations and through active participation in the World Trade Organisation. The Division is also responsible for the administration and enforcement of EU Export Controls and EU Trade Sanctions, in support of global security and human rights.

The division is responsible for trade promotion activities and coordinates the annual programme of ministerial led trade and investment missions, as well as promoting and raising awareness among Irish firms the benefits of EU-FTAs. The division provides the secretariat to the Trade and Investment Council and leads on the development of a new national strategy for trade and investment. The division also coordinates across government for Ireland’s participation in Joint Economic Commissions. The Division is responsible for implementing the EU Investment Screening Regulation and acts as Ireland’s National Contact Point for cooperation with the European Commission and with other EU member States on investment screening matters.

The Division also acts as the National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) which provide for a set non-binding principles and standards consistent for responsible business conduct.

Commerce, Consumer and Competition Division

Assistant Secretary: John Newham

The Commerce, Consumer and Competition Division is the policy arm of the Department for developing a legal framework to deliver a fair and efficient market in which Irish commerce prospers and consumers are protected.

The Division is concerned with delivering an environment for business in which there is fair competition; dynamism and productivity flourishes; and in which there is consumer and investor confidence. Our regulatory regime is intended to ensure that business is conducted with probity and integrity but without undue administrative burdens and that the rights of investors, consumers and creditors are protected, transparent and enforced. 

In relation to Internal Audit, the Division aims to ensure that the highest standards of internal corporate governance is promoted through the work of the Department's internal audit function.

Workplace Regulation and Economic Migration Division

Assistant Secretary: Dermot Mulligan

The role of the Workplace Regulation and Economic Migration Division is to promote quality employment, positive workplace relations, well-functioning dispute resolution mechanisms, a safe working environment and assists Ireland’s enterprise base to access talent from overseas, through responsive and robust economic migration policy. 

In particular, the Workplace Regulation and Economic Migration Division works to ensure that:

  • employees can rely on a robust suite of employment rights policies, underpinned by statute
  • our policy, legislative and institutional framework promotes harmonious industrial and workplace relations
  • any disputes or breaches are handled efficiently and effectively
  • a skills based economic migration policy is efficiently implemented
  • our policy and legislative framework promotes a safe working environment, providing protection for all employees

Corporate Services Division

The overall objective of the Corporate Services Division is to provide efficient and effective support to allow the wider Department to deliver on our broader strategic business goals responding and adapting to changing internal and external challenges. The Division consists of six Business Units across Human Resources, Governance and Management Supports (including Customer and Enterprise Information Services and FOI), Communications, Finance, ICT and Business Services.

The Division has a number of objectives including to:

  • lead and manage our HR Function and deliver our Connected HR Strategy, workforce planning and learning and development
  • ensure that the Department has sufficient capability and capacity to deliver on its overall vision and goals including through delivery of an Organisation Capability Review
  • support our staff through wellbeing initiatives and flexible working options, to ensure a healthy work life balance for all
  • fully participate in public service reform and Civil Service Renewal including through a number of in-house initiatives under the umbrella of our New Ways of Working initiative
  • manage and deliver effective and efficient Information, Communication & Technological services and supports necessary to enable business units deliver on their core objective
  • continue to seek efficiencies and improved customer service including through continuous focus on digital opportunities
  • manage our vote and oversee our financial systems including the estimates process and capital and current funding reviews
  • demonstrate excellence in corporate governance which will provide openness and transparency and ensure value for money
  • coordinate a Department position on relevant matters and ensure compliance with a range of statutory obligations such as FOI, Official Languages, Protected Disclosures
  • support Minister’s and colleagues in promoting the work of the Department externally and ensuring strong internal communications
  • direct and implement the Department’s policies on accommodation, procurement and health and safety

Further information on the allocation of management responsibilities can be found on whodoeswhat.gov.ie > DETE