Dáil Éireann - Volume 589 - 07 October, 2004
Written Answers. - Job Losses.
Mr. Sherlock Mr. Sherlock
23. Mr. Sherlock asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if he has received correspondence from Mitchelstown Business Association concerning the imminent economic crisis facing Mitchelstown currently; and, if so, the steps that have been taken. [22142/04]
Mr. Stanton Mr. Stanton
76. Mr. Stanton asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if his attention has been drawn to recent job losses and projected job losses in Mitchelstown; his plans to encourage job creation in Mitchelstown; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23755/04]
Mr. Martin Mr. Martin
Mr. Martin: I propose to take Questions Nos. 23 and 76 together.
The situation in Mitchelstown has been very much to the forefront of considerations particularly since a meeting with a delegation from the town last April at which, I understand, the Deputies were present. This meeting was arranged on foot of correspondence from Mitchelstown Business Association to my predecessor.
The Deputies’ concerns relate to the job losses at Dairygold and its pigmeat division, Galtee Meats. In terms of a response to job losses to date and pending job losses, people affected by the redundancies have been written to by FÁS, inviting them to register with it. I understand that, so far, 150 employees of Galtee Meats, who are to be made redundant at the end of this month, have availed of the offer. The full range of FÁS services are being offered to all relevant employees and FÁS has also increased its activity in north Cork, offering additional courses and support.
The industrial development agencies, for which job creation is a day to day operational matter, are continuing to promote Mitchelstown for  industrial development. Enterprise Ireland is keeping in close contact with Dairygold, and is continuing to work with the company on the future development of its business. As agreed, at the meeting with the delegation in April, Dairygold has been approached for assistance in relation to industrial development in Mitchelstown. A socio-economic study of the Mitchelstown area has been commissioned and a proposal will be presented to Dairygold in the coming weeks with a view to securing funding for the study.
Last year, Enterprise Ireland approved a grant of €200,000 for a Food Enterprise Centre in the town. Approval for business expansion scheme, BES, relief is awaited pending the outcome of certain EU State aid issues in relation to BES relief in general. However, in the meantime, a Food Forum Committee, of which EI is a member, has been arranged to drive the project forward. The first meeting of this committee took place last week. A site has been agreed and a company is to be formed in relation to the project. The next meeting of the forum will take place on 22 October 2004.
A substantial new industrial facility has also been funded under the BES and this is being marketed by IDA Ireland to potential clients. There have been two site visits to date, the most recent being in August 2004. However, no client interest has been expressed in the facility as yet. Four small advance industrial units are being provided following a joint initiative involving the county enterprise board, the local credit union and Cork County Council.
Cork County Council has designated Mitchelstown as an important growth and development centre. The council has acquired lands for industrial purposes and new industrial sites are also being sought. I understand that Mitchelstown is also to be included in the roll-out of broadband infrastructure. In addition, Mallow has been designated as a hub location under the national spatial strategy and this has the potential to benefit Mitchelstown and the broader north Cork area.
I am satisfied that the combined efforts of State agency and local interests will address the ongoing needs of Mitchelstown. However, I should point out that in addition to increased global competition for investment and as a result of the slowdown in the global economy in the last few years, there are fewer companies seeking investment locations than in the past. This has resulted in both fewer companies visiting Ireland and fewer companies choosing to locate in Ireland. The final decision on where to locate a project rests with the promoter of that project. Mitchelstown continues to be marketed by the development agencies for new investment as actively and vigorously as possible.
Dáil Éireann 589 Written Answers. Job Losses.