Thursday, 29 February 1996
Dáil Éireann Debate
92. Mr. Callely asked the Minister for Enterprise and Employment the total amount of State and EU funds that have been provided by his Department or under the aegis of his Department for development of enterprise and employment in 1995; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4716/96]
Minister for Enterprise and Employment (Mr. R. Bruton): Under the Operational Programme for Industrial Development 1994-1999, which is the main EU-funded operational programme for the promotion of industrial development in Ireland, the total State and EU investment in 1995 amounted to £220 million. This figure is provisional, pending receipt of final accounts from participating bodies, and covers all activities under the programme including support for the development of the food industry and the development of industry in Gaeltacht areas.
The primary objective of the Operational Programme for Industrial Development 1994-1999 is to promote the development of a strong internationally competitive enterprise sector in Ireland comprising both indigenous and non-indigenous companies that will make the maximum contribution to selfsustaining employment growth.
The performance in 1995 under the Industry OP was particularly good. There were over 25,000 gross new jobs created during the year, which was well above the OP target of creating 20,000 jobs p.a. on average over the life of the OP. The outturn in respect of net employment was even more encouraging with over 10,000 net jobs created. This is more than double the long-term programme aim which is to create a net 5,000 jobs p.a. Exports by indigenous firms, promoted by ABT, grew by 12 per cent during the year.
My Department also administers the Human Resources Development Operational Programme which provides a range of measures aimed at addressing  the training, educational and employment needs of different groups on the labour market.
The main objectives of the programme are to improve the education and skill levels of the work force to most directly reflect the requirements of the labour market, and to enhance the employment prospects of the unemployed, particularly the long-term unemployed and persons excluded from the labour market. A total sum of £508.2 million was allocated to this Operational Programme for 1995.
Total expenditure in 1995 by the county enterprise boards amounted to £19,793,776. The county enterprise boards were established to fill a gap in the support services provided to small and micro-enterprises, including such enterprises in the services sector.
Under the RETEX Operational Programme 1993-1997 a total of £1.12 million of State and EU funding took place in 1995. The purpose of the RETEX Operational Programme 1993-97 is to help support the acceleration of economic activities in regions heavily dependent on the textile and clothing sector. RETEX support has been concentrated on helping SMEs to introduce world class manufacturing and new technology into the workplace.
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