Dáil Éireann - Volume 522 - 27 June, 2000

Written Answers. - Job Creation.

89. Mr. Boylan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the steps being taken to deal with the record level of job losses in the Border region in view of the most recent IDA report; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18277/00]

92. Mr. B. Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the measures that will be implemented to ensure a better distribution of job creation, bearing in mind the needs of the Border region and, particularly, the need to attract inward investment to County Cavan; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18462/00]

93. Mr. B. Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the measures, if any, which will be implemented to ensure a better distribution of job creation throughout the country, in view of the needs of the Border region and the need to attract inward investment to County Cavan; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18463/00]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Ms Harney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 89, 92 and 93 together.

The Government, through its industrial development agencies, is committed to ensuring the most equitable distribution of job opportunities throughout the country. The development agencies are now strongly focused on achieving this aim and resources are being deployed to reflect this new focus. In this regard, the Border region, including Cavan, is a particular priority location for promotional purposes by the agencies.

[319] The EU Commission has recognised the needs of the Border region in that it forms part of the Objective One region for development purposes and will also benefit from a relatively higher level of permitted State aid under the new EU Regional Aid Guidelines 2000-06. This facilitates the agencies in ensuring that an attractive financial package will be made available to any appropriate project which may choose to locate or expand in the regions.

The last couple of years have resulted in a significant change and focus for IDA Ireland activities in the Border region. This has resulted in the establishment of IDA Ireland's new area office in Cavan to supplement the existing offices in Dundalk, Letterkenny and Sligo; an increase in staff resources by one third in the area; setting the target that 50% of all new jobs from greenfield investment locate in Objective One regions over the coming years; the roll out of a planned property programme for the region, to provide a balanced mix between offices and factory buildings by working closely with the local authorities and private sector investors; the selection of specific sectors targeted for each location, such as international services, electronics, etc.; and an intensive and focused marketing programme, integrating IDA Ireland's regional offices, headquarters and overseas offices, for targeted locations.

Enterprise Ireland is also working closely with companies in the Border region, helping them to build up their capability and competitiveness and to increase growth and employment.

The improvement of business support services, such as the new Derry-Dublin air service to commence immediately between Dublin and City of Derry Airports, to be run by Aer Arann, will be a major boost for the work programme of the industrial development agencies. It is expected that this service will lead to an increase in the flow of business to the region.

These initiatives, coupled with the implementation of the Government's agenda on infrastructure contained in the national development plan, will act as key building blocks underpinning the future industrial development of the Border region.

I am confident that the ongoing co-ordinated job creation efforts by the industrial development agencies in the Border region will bring positive results to the region.