Dáil Éireann - Volume 623 - 04 July, 2006

Written Answers. - Industrial Development.

[405] Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the reason after almost one year since he announced a new mandate for Shannon Development, it has not been implemented; the issues that remain to be clarified in talks between unions and his Department, the number of times unions have met with Department officials since the start of 2006; when the company will produce a new corporate plan; when he expects that the new mandate will be implemented; if the continued uncertainty over Shannon Development’s future role, brought about by the delay in implementing the new mandate, has adversely affected State agencies’ ability to attract inward investment into the mid west. [26223/06]

  Mr. Martin:As I have indicated in response to previous Dáil Questions, following detailed consultations with the Board of Shannon Development, other stakeholders and regional interests, on 28th July 2005 I announced my decision on a future mandate for the Company. Under the terms of the new mandate, Shannon Development is being given a more focused regional economic remit that will complement the roles of the national agencies, IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland, in attracting foreign direct investment and developing the indigenous enterprise base in the region. The Company will also continue to be responsible for providing appropriate property solutions for both indigenous and overseas enterprises throughout the Shannon region and for the management and development of the Shannon Free Zone Industrial Estate.

Since then, I have facilitated discussions between Departmental officials and SIPTU in order to provide clarification on aspects of the decision that had given rise to concern among Shannon Development staff represented by SIPTU.

I have recently approved the Shannon Development Corporate Plan drawn up, at my request, to give effect to the new mandate. My colleague, the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism has also indicated his approval. The Plan sets out a clear and focused vision on the part of the Company for its own future consistent with its mandate. As such it merits the support of all stakeholders in furthering the interests of the region.

This process has not progressed as quickly as we may have wished but it is more important to implement changes that all stakeholders can subscribe to rather than impose a unilateral solution that does not fully address the concerns of some of those stakeholders. Nevertheless, I expect this process to be brought to a successful conclusion [406] very shortly and that the mandate will be implemented this year. There is no evidence to suggest that the process of engagement that has been undertaken with the staff representatives of the Company has, in any way, inhibited investment in the region.