Who We Are

Department Structure

The Department is organised into 6 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: Dermot Mulligan

The Innovation and Investment Division carries policy and delivery management responsibility for enterprise, innovation, research and development, intellectual property and North/South activities delivered through multiple agencies as set out below.

The Division has responsibility for:

  • Developing and promoting innovation, research and development policy, leading cross Governmental coordination with particular emphasis on implementing Innovation 2020, the cross Governmental strategy for research and development, science and technology.
  • Contributing to the delivery of effective foreign direct investment (FDI) policy in Ireland by working with the IDA and other Government Departments to ensure the Agency’s strategies are implemented as effectively and efficiently as possible.
  • A very significant part of Enterprise Ireland’s mandate, namely, research and innovation supports for enterprise, connecting enterprise to academic research, commercialisation of research from Higher Education Institutes and High Potential Start-Up companies. These supports are aimed at driving exports and creating jobs.
  • Science Foundation Ireland and its mandate to support excellent research in areas impacting the competitiveness of enterprise. The Division also has responsibility for the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions administered by the HEA.
  • North/South issues and InterTrade Ireland, involving responsibilities for enterprise, innovation and research at all-island level.
  • Intellectual Property policy and administration, to ensure Ireland delivers a world class IP management service. This mandate includes the Patents Office in Kilkenny
  • Leading at EU level for all Departments on research and innovation including Horizon 2020/FP 9.

Indigenous Enterprise Development Division

Assistant Secretary: Declan Hughes

The overall goal of the Indigenous Enterprise Development Division is to work with relevant stakeholders to ensure that appropriate supports are in place to promote and develop entrepreneurship, to help businesses to start, scale and export, and to advocate across the wider system for a supportive business environment (e.g. tax policy, skills availability; etc.)

The Division operates a suite of policies and supports 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 direct interventions such as the provision of Microfinance and Loan Guarantees, as well as working with the Division’s Agencies (Enterprise Ireland, the Local Enterprise Offices, and the National Standards Authority of Ireland) to ensure their supports are relevant and aligned to the evolving needs of business.

Labour Affairs Division

Assistant Secretary: Clare Dunne

The role of the Labour Affairs Division is to work at national and international level to ensure employment rights are appropriate and respected:

  • that our policy, legislative and institutional framework promotes harmonious industrial relations;
  • that the minimum wage is appropriate;
  • that any disputes or breaches are handled efficiently and effectively;
  • that Irish EU employment policy positions are clear and co-ordinated;
  • that a skills based economic migration policy is efficiently implemented;
  • that overall management of the financial affairs of the Department is robust and effective.

Commerce, Consumer and Competition Division

Assistant Secretary: Breda Power

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.

EU Affairs, Trade Policy and Export Licensing Division

Assistant Secretary: Philip Kelly

The EU Affairs, Trade Policy and Export Licensing Division defines, coordinates and develops our position on EU policy matters and our relationship with EU Institutions.

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, as well as coordination of a coherent policy response to Brexit across the Department. The Division is also responsible for export licensing.

Strategic Policy Division

Assistant Secretary: Declan Hughes

The Strategic Policy Division (SPD) of the Department is focused on evaluating, designing and executing ambitious enterprise and jobs strategies. The formulation and development of policy occurs across all Divisions of the Department with the support of the Strategic Policy Division.

The key elements of the role of SPD include the areas of Enterprise Policy, Competitiveness, Horizon Scanning, Tax Policy, Education, Skills and Labour Market Analysis, the Action Plan for Jobs, economic infrastructure and research and technical support in the areas of Trade, Innovation and Climate Change, together with economic and data analysis generally. SPD provides evidence-based support to the work of DBEI and works across government to ensure we continuously enhance the business environment for job creation in areas such as skills, taxation, essential infrastructures and competitiveness.

The enterprise, innovation and science surveys provide a key element of the policy research capability, are also now being undertaken by the Strategic Policy Division within DBEI.

SPD leads the development of the Action Plan for Jobs that was introduced in 2012 as a key instrument of Government to support sustainable job creation. New plans are published annually, setting out clear actions and targets to help create positive conditions for job creation. This Whole-of-Government initiative sees all Government Departments and Agencies work together to deliver on agreed action points each year.

SPD supports the work of the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) and the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN). Both the NCC and EGFSN publish their advice and reports on their respective websites.

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

Details of our staffing figures can be found in the document below.

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