Dáil Éireann - Volume 574 - 13 November, 2003

Written Answers. - Job Protection.

  113. Cecilia Keaveney asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment further to Parliamentary Question No. 6 of 23 October 2003, the manner in which her words will be pursued to realise the goal outlined; and if she will make a statement on the manner in which her challenging words will yield action. [27000/03]

  Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Ms Harney): When I met with a delegation from Donegal County Development Board last month, the discussion was primarily in relation to progressing a number of key economic infrastructure projects in the county. The projects relate to broadband, air access, roads, water and energy, i.e. electricity and gas. An application for INTERREG funding to construct an open access broadband telecommunications link between Derry and Letterkenny is being pursued. The key item under air access is the development of the runway at Derry airport. Under roads, the main concerns being pursued are the Lifford-Letterkenny national primary road, improvements to the A5 road in Northern Ireland connecting Lifford with Monaghan, and also the link between the N56 and the N14. As regards water, funding for the Letterkenny water supply scheme is being provided under the water services investment programme of the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government. On energy, a feasibility study grant for the extension of the natural gas pipeline from Derry to Letterkenny was approved under INTERREG last month; the ESB is committed to upgrading the electricity infrastructure in the county.

  114. Cecilia Keaveney asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the criteria used for choosing four centres under the webworks programme (details supplied); if a location in County Donegal was considered; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27001/03]

  Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Ms Harney): The choice of locations of webworks is primarily a matter for Enterprise Ireland and not one in which I have a direct function. The webworks programme arose from a major study of the Internationally Traded Services – ITS – sector by Enterprise Ireland. The study, ITS 2007, conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, examined areas with potential for development in Ireland and made recommend[844]ations for policy formation and specific interventions by the development agencies.

  The study recognised that the new knowledge-intensive industries were largely establishing in the Dublin area and recommended the creation of regional hubs to address this imbalance. The webworks programme aims to create the environment that will foster the clustering of new ITS companies in the regions. The study recommended that large-scale webworks, c. 50,000 square feet, be located in the major regional urban centres of Galway, Cork and Limerick immediately and that one smaller webwork, c. 20,000 square feet, be considered for a primary regional town on a pilot basis. The study also recommended that consideration should be given to extending the webworks programme to other regional towns with institutes of technology such as Letterkenny if the pilot centres prove to be successful.

  In line with ITS 2007, Enterprise Ireland decided that large webworks be established in the major regional centres of Galway, Cork and Limerick. It was also decided that two smaller centres be provided in regions not covered by the major urban centres where there was a low level of ITS companies. The north-west and the south-east are two such regions and it was decided that the pilot centres should be located in the main regional towns of Sligo and Waterford to test the viability of centres in regional towns. Enterprise Ireland expects that the construction of all these centres will commence by the end of 2004.