Dáil Éireann - Volume 661 - 24 September, 2008
Written Answers. - Job Creation.
Deputy Dinny McGinley Deputy Dinny McGinley
Deputy Dinny McGinley asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the efforts being made to bring industrial employment to Donegal; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31146/08]
Deputy Mary Coughlan Deputy Mary Coughlan
Deputy Mary Coughlan: Donegal is a target location for the IDA with the County now competing for a different type of business to labour intensive manufacturing, which had been the key target over the past four decades. Overseas investors are now seeking locations for more advanced manufacturing or office based solutions, to a great extent depending on high skill and high value work. While this has required a significant change of strategy by the IDA, progress has been made in securing new high value investments from Pacificare, Pramerica, SITA and Abbott Diabetes, with some 1,200 new jobs being added in the County by overseas firms over the last five years. These companies continue to recruit and are actively seeking new staff.
 As regards Enterprise Ireland, which serves the indigenous sector, it provides a wide range of supports for high potential start up companies including financial supports, business and marketing advice, mentoring, product development etc. As part of its infrastructural support for start-up companies, Enterprise Ireland has approved some €3.5m in recent years for developments at Letterkenny Institute of Technology, which is an important aspect of supporting and attracting business to the region.
Enterprise Ireland’s results for jobs created in client companies in County Donegal for 2007 show a net gain for the third year in a row with a net increase of over 440 jobs. A growth of 15% over the last three years reflects the investment Donegal companies are making in competing successfully both at home and abroad. During the 3 year period to December 2007, Enterprise Ireland approved over €14m to companies in County Donegal to support the development of new sales, exports and jobs.
Enterprise Ireland has also been very active in supporting the development of community enterprise centres in the North West Region, which are critical to continued enterprise development in rural areas and to the development of an entrepreneurial culture. Nine Community Enterprise Centres in County Donegal have received funding of approx. €2m under the Community Enterprise Centre Scheme to date.
The role of the Donegal County Enterprise Board, is to provide support to micro-enterprises in the start-up and expansion phases, to promote and develop indigenous micro-enterprise potential and to stimulate economic activity and entrepreneurship at local level. Through the provision of both financial and non-financial support, the Board supports individuals, firms and community groups, provided that the proposed projects have the capacity to achieve commercial viability. Financial support is available in the form of Capital Grants, Employment Grants and Feasibility Study grants. In relation to non-financial support, Donegal CEB engages in a range of activities to stimulate enterprise and to support small businesses.
Despite past difficulties in County Donegal, due to the demise of traditional industries such as agriculture, fishing and textiles, there is clear evidence that the county is successfully engaged in a transition to the new economy. Most recently, with the support of Údarás na Gaeltachta, Forward Emphasis International is set to expand its workforce by 100 at a new facility in the Gaoth Dobhair Business Park with Euro Iompú Teo also set to expand its workforce by 100 in Gaoth Dobhair. A major investment by Randox Laboratories, in Dungloe, will lead to the creation of a further 135 jobs.
I can assure the Deputy that funding support and initiatives for enterprises in County Donegal is, and will remain, a priority for the State development agencies under the auspices of my Department.
Dáil Éireann 661 Written Answers. Job Creation.