Dáil Éireann - Volume 487 - 19 February, 1998
Written Answers - Company Closures.
Mr. B. Smith Mr. B. Smith
71. Mr. B. Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if her attention has been drawn to the widespread concern in the west Cavan and south Leitrim areas in relation to the impending closure of Ballinamore Textiles Limited, Ballinamore, County Leitrim; if she, in conjunction with the industrial development agencies, will make every effort possible to secure a replacement industry as urgently as possible; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4468/98]
Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Miss Harney) Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Miss Harney)
Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Miss Harney): Ballinamore Textiles Limited was a substantial employer in  the Leitrim-Cavan area over the past 25 years and the fact that the company has decided to cease operations will come as a severe blow to the workforce. I am naturally concerned at this development.
I understand the current workforce of 106 will be made redundant on a phased basis between 20 February and 10 April. In its press statement Ballinamore Textiles cited “fierce competition for domestic and export sales” as the reason for the proposed closure. While IDA Ireland managed to secure some new contracts for the company, I understand these were insufficient to support its future viability.
My first priority on learning of the company's decision to close was to see if anything could be done to secure alternative employment opportunities for the workforce. I immediately asked IDA Ireland to liaise with the other development agencies and FÁS, and I know that the IDA and Forbairt have already contacted a number of clothing companies regarding the possibility of locating to Ballinamore. As well as actively exploring this possibility, the development agencies are also vigorously pursuing other industrial opportunities for the Ballinamore area. The IDA plans to meet the management of Ballinamore shortly to ascertain the company's plans for the premises.
In tandem with the development agencies' efforts, FÁS has arranged to meet the company's management to discuss the skills of the workforce, in advance of arranging suitable courses which would best equip the employees to gain alternative employment in the clothing and other sectors.
The development agencies have been made very much aware of my determination to focus to a much greater extent than in the past on the creation of new job opportunities in the regions, and particularly regions such as west Cavan and south Leitrim. In the past seven months, we have announced some 11,000 jobs for areas outside of Dublin.
I am hopeful that the strenuous campaign being mounted by the various agencies, generally for the regions and more specifically for Ballinamore, will have positive results over the coming months.
Dáil Éireann 487 Written Answers Company Closures.