Dáil Éireann - Volume 595 - 16 December, 2004

Written Answers. - Job Creation.

  16. Mr. McGinley asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the groups he met during his recent visit to County Donegal; if he was informed of the high unemployment figures for the county; his plans for alleviating these difficulties; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33551/04]

  Mr. Martin: On 2 December I visited Donegal and met a number of groups and companies. These included Buncrana Town Council, Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce, SIPTU, Donegal County Council, Letterkenny IT, WESTBIC, Powerbar, Clubman Omega and Ashley Martin. I undertook this visit in recognition of the relatively difficult employment situation in Donegal, although it also has to be recognised that the number of persons on the live register has been decreasing in Donegal over the last number of years.

Enterprise Ireland continues to work with its client companies in the county to assist them grow their sales and exports and improve innovation so that they can compete globally. Direct support amounting to €15 million has been approved for client companies in the north west region since January 2000, of which approximately €10 million is for companies in County Donegal. To date in 2004, Enterprise Ireland has approved funding for over €1.5 million and also paid over €1.5 million to companies in County Donegal.

The IDA is actively marketing all areas of Donegal for new investment and jobs and has invested significant moneys in developing a business park to international standards in Letterkenny. Companies locating in this park will be recruiting from the wider Donegal area. This is in line with the national spatial strategy and the designation of Letterkenny as a gateway location.

The Donegal County Enterprise Board continues to be active in helping new and existing micro-enterprises in the county. To date the board has approved a total of €645,470 in funding to 26 projects that will assist in the creation of 66 net new jobs for the region.

The role of FÁS is also particularly important in providing training and upskilling for workers who have lost their jobs at Unifi and for those currently employed at Fruit of the Loom. FÁS offers two fully equipped training centres in [1033] Donegal, the only county outside of Dublin that is so serviced. Both of these centres are operating to the highest international standards.

I assure the Deputy, as I did the groups I met in Donegal, that tackling the difficulties in Donegal is a priority for the Government and myself and I have also reiterated this to the state development agencies operating in Donegal.

Question No. 17 answered with Question No. 8.

Question No. 18 answered with Question No. 6.