Tuesday, 6 November 2001
Dáil Eireann Debate
631. Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage Gaeltacht and the Islands the arrangements she has in place to provide replacement jobs at Cong Sawmill, County Mayo; if the site is now in the ownership of Udarás na Gaeltachta; if she agreed with her predecessor that the job potential for the site in question is of the order of 50; the efforts to date to provide these jobs; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26324/01]
Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands (Miss de Valera): The then Minister of State at this Department consented to the purchase by Údarás na Gaeltachta of the site in question in September 2000 to develop it for business-industrial purposes. Consequential action required in this regard and in relation to securing a suitable project for the site is a matter solely for the údarás.
I understand that in order to progress the purchase it became necessary for the údarás to apply for new planning permission which was done in June of this year. Significant questions, particularly in relation to entry to and exit from the site, arose in the context of this application necessitating redesign of plans for the site. An amended application for planning permission was submitted to Galway County Council on 25 October last. It is intended to proceed with the purchase without delay as soon as planning permission is obtained.
As regards the job potential of the site, the údarás has advised me that, subject to the availability of suitable projects and a suitable workforce, a job potential in the region of 50 persons would not be unreasonable having regard to the nature of the site. The general efforts by the údarás to promote job creation in this area and in other Gaeltacht areas are continuing. While the potential of the site has been brought to the attention of some promoters, the delay in completing the purchase as a result of the need to apply for fresh planning permission has made it difficult, however, to target projects specifically for the site in recent months. I look forward to a speedy completion of these matters.
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