Tuesday, 29 March 2011
Dáil Éireann Debate
Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Job creation is central to our economic recovery and the Programme for Government has job creation at its core. The role of my Department is to ensure that we have the right policies in place that will support and grow our enterprise base in order to facilitate both job creation and job retention.
The programmes supported by my Department and its agencies will be critical in achieving economic growth through promoting the export potential of enterprise in Ireland and driving our Smart Economy. The allocation of €508 million in funding for 2011 will ensure that the core programmes of the enterprise agencies are sustained and targeted as well as driving investment in research and development. This investment in the enterprise development agencies will drive recovery in the economy by facilitating the winning of foreign direct investments, the growth of indigenous exports and the creation of sustainable jobs.
Enterprise Ireland will continue to support job creation through a number of interventions, such as supporting the establishment and growth of high potential start-up companies and supporting companies to target new opportunities in overseas markets. In 2010, Enterprise Ireland paid €6.4m to companies in Co. Louth in the Engineering, Food, Consumer Products and ICT sectors. At present, there are 181 Enterprise Ireland client companies in Co. Louth employing over 4,200 people. The agency has approved funding for six Community Enterprise Centres in Co. Louth, under the Community Enterprise Centre Scheme, amounting to €1.97m to date. Recently, Enterprise Ireland was involved with Louth County Enterprise Board in the recent ‘Enterprise Week’ which was held in the first week in March.
Co. Louth has the largest concentration of IDA supported companies in the North East Region with more than 1,600 people employed in 23 companies. IDA Ireland is actively marketing Co. Louth for new inward investment, particularly the Gateway Town of Dundalk and also Drogheda. The region is being targeted by IDA for new investment in the Pharma, Clean Technologies, Globally Traded Businesses and Financial Services sectors.
IDA has developed a major land bank at Mullagharlin to the south of the town of Dundalk. This extends to 150 acres in two parcels of 110 acres and 40 acres respectively and is particularly targeted at Bio Pharma type activities for which the town is being actively marketed. In addition, there are two other business parks: the 20-acre Finnabair Business Park in Dundalk which has, in recent years, undergone major site development works to bring it up to “flagship”standard, as well as the 63 acre Business & Technology Park in Drogheda. IDA is also working closely with Dundalk Institute of Technology in the development of programmes for the changing needs of the overseas sector.
Since its inception in 1993 to end 2010, Louth County Enterprise Board has issued over €5.2m in grant assistance to almost 600 clients. In addition, there were more than 4,600 participants in CEB supported training programmes. At present, there are nearly 900 people employed in CEB-assisted companies in Co. Louth. I am satisfied that the policies and initiatives being pursued by the enterprise agencies and Louth CEB will continue to bring about industrial development and employment opportunities for Co. Louth.
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