Dáil Éireann - Volume 336 - 15 June, 1982

Written Answers. - Car Importation Agreement.

1021. Mr. De Rossa asked the Minister for Industry and Energy if he is satisfied that the 1979 agreement with British Leyland for the importation of cars is being complied with and that the employment levels agreed to under that agreement are being maintained in line with the level of car imports; and if he is not satisfied that these employment levels are being maintained, the steps he is taking to rectify the situation.

Minister for Industry and Energy (Mr. Reynolds): Early last year BL Cars (Ireland) Ltd. made a number of workers redundant because of continuing substantial trading losses. The number of [117] hourly-paid workers employed by the company was thereby reduced to about 60 per cent of the firm's employment commitment under the June 1979 agreement.

Though the number of cars imported — as a percentage of that allowed under the agreement — is approximately in line with the reduced workforce employed, I am not happy with the situation. I have been urging the company to seek an alternative project which would provide suitable long term employment. Although the company have investigated a number of possibilities, positive proposals have not yet emerged. Their efforts are, however, seriously hampered by the worldwide recession. My Department are maintaining close contact with the company in the matter.