Written Answers - EU Funding.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 681 No. 4

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  148.  Deputy Kieran O’Donnell  Information on Kieran O'Donnell  Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment  Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan   when moneys will be available in Limerick from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund to assist with redundant workers (details supplied); the amount of funding her Department is projecting that will be provided by the EU; the amount that will come from the State in matching funding; the purpose for which these moneys will be used; the organisations that will be in receipt of these moneys; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17831/09]

  149.  Deputy Kieran O’Donnell  Information on Kieran O'Donnell  Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment  Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan   the contacts that have taken place between her and the European Commission in relation to the use of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund in Limerick; if the regulations governing the fund will be redrawn; the reason moneys from the fund are not in place in Limerick; when the moneys will be in place; the stumbling blocks that exist to releasing funds in Limerick immediately; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17832/09]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Mary Coughlan): Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I propose to take Questions Nos. 148 and 149 together.

My Department, in conjunction with the relevant State agencies, is currently preparing an application for EGF support in respect of the redundancies announced at Dell’s Raheen plant and directly related redundancies in the Mid-West Region. In order to ensure that a reasoned and detailed case satisfying the stringent EGF eligibility conditions is advanced with the greatest prospect of success the technical process of collection, verification and analysis of supporting data and the development and costing of a tailored package of applicable measures for each individual redundant worker is currently under way. In this context there has been ongoing consultations with the European Commission on technical issues related to the making of a relevant application for Dell.

As currently provided for funding is available from the European Globalisation Fund (EGF) for the retraining of workers in EU Member States made redundant as a result of changing global trade patterns where, inter alia, at least 1,000 workers have been made redundant within a 4 months period and have been individually notified of redundancy. This is not currently the case in relation to Dell.

However, the Regulation governing the EGF is being revised at present to ensure that it responds more effectively and efficiently to the needs of EU workers made redundant due to the adverse effects of globalisation including now as a result of the current global economic and financial crisis. The proposed changes include the halving of the current threshold number of redundancies, an increase in the EU co-financing rate from up to 50% to 65% and the doubling of the implementation period from 12 to 24 months. All these measures, which were supported by Ireland during negotiations at the European Council, should make the Fund more [873]accessible. These measures would apply retrospectively to all applications made between 1 May 2009 and 30 December 2011.

The revised Regulation has yet to be formally adopted by both the European Parliament and the European Council Irrespective of the timing or eventual outcome of any EGF application the Government has already begun to put in place relevant supports to facilitate those workers facing redundancy in Dell to retrain, to improve their skills or to pursue educational opportunities in order to assist in their reintegration into the workforce. FÁS has put in place a dedicated team to assist Dell workers and has offered its full range of training and employment supports to assist the first batch of 480 Dell workers being made redundant in the period to the end of April. Both group based and one-to-one occupational guidance interviews conducted by the FÁS team in February were attended by 345 and 325 workers respectively, while ECDL training was delivered to those 60 workers who requested it.

A dedicated website, www.túsnua.ie to assist redundant workers in assessing their options for alternative employment or further education in the Mid-West Region has also been put in place through collaboration between University of Limerick, Limerick Institute of Technology, FÁS, the County and City Enterprise Board, Enterprise Ireland and several other regionally located bodies. The majority of such supports are being provided, mainly through FÁS, from the State’s own resources in the interim. Any subsequent co-financing received under the EGF will serve to defray some of the costs of supports already being provided or planned.

As I have stated previously in this House a valid EGF application submitted in due course on behalf of Dell and related redundancies is being prepared and will be made without any undue delay with the aim of providing the maximum level of permitted supports and attracting the maximum level of EU co-financing to the benefit of the relevant redundant workers.


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