Adjournment Matter. - Job Creation in Achill.

Thursday, 18 June 1998

Seanad Éireann Debate
Vol. 156 No. 2

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Mr. Chambers: Information on Frank Chambers  Zoom on Frank Chambers  I appreciate the Minister of State's agreement to deal with this matter on the Adjournment. I wish to outline the lack of progress in the provision of long-term employment within the industrial complex at Bunacurry, Achill, which is within the remit of Údarás na Gaeltachta.

The industrial site at Bunacurry has five industrial units. It has a history of failed employment projects and, at a time when there is widespread success in job creation in rural and urban areas, this site has not achieved any substantial successes in the provision of long-term jobs. Last year saw the closure of Broc Teoranta and 25 people, most of them women, lost their jobs. It also saw the closure of Éadaig Oilean Achalla Teoranta with the loss of 15 jobs. A total of 40 jobs were lost in Achill in 1997.

There is a substantial workforce in Achill which is available for long-term employment. The workers are also willing to avail of any training opportunities to improve their skills. None of the closures was caused by a lack of working skills among the workforce or the availability of people for work. These people are only waiting for the opportunity to work.

I ask the Minister of State to urge Údarás na Gaeltachta to put a development plan in place for the Achill region which will address the difficulties in providing jobs in the area and provide the necessary finance and structures to implement that plan.

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands (Éamon Ó Cuív): Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  Gabhaim buíochas leis an Seanadóir Chambers as ucht an cheist seo a chur síos agus deis a thabhairt dom eolas a thabhairt dó ar céard atá ar bun ag Údarás na Gaeltachta maidir le fostaíocht a chruthú i gceantar Acla. Tuigim fadhb na nGaeltachtaí beaga. Bhí mé féin sách fada ag treabhadh an iomaire áirithe seo i nGaeltacht bheag, Dúiche Seoighe, agus tuigim an obair atá le déanamh.

[150] I thank Senator Chambers for raising this matter and giving me an opportunity to outline the work being done by Údarás na Gaeltachta in the Achill region and to say that I appreciate fully the need for special attention to be given to smaller Gaeltacht areas.

Níl aon amhras ach go bhfuil deacrachtaí le cúrsaí fostaíochta in Acaill le blianta, ach san am gcéanna tá iarrachtaí ar leith déanta agus á ndéanamh ag Údarás na Gaeltachta chun na deacrachtaí sin a shárú agus tá toradh ag teacht ar an obair.

I ndeireadh 1997 bhí 97 nduine fostaithe go lánaimseartha agus breis agus 200 duine go páirtaimseartha nó go séasúrach i gceantar Acla i dtionscail faoi scáth Údarás na Gaeltachta i gcomparáid le 88 nduine go lánaimseartha agus 189 nduine go páirtaimseartha nó go séasúrach dhá bhliain roimhe sin.

Tuigim ón Údarás go bhfuiltear ag súil leis go mbeidh togra ionaid sa ghnó céanna le ceann de na tionscnaimh a dhún, i.e. ag tairgeadh rópaí agus malaí polapróipiléin, ag tosú go fíorluath agus go mbeidh fostaíocht do sheachtar daoine go lánaimseartha ann faoi lanseol i gcomparáid le hochtar go páirtaimseartha sa tionscnamh a dhún.

Cé nach bhfuil aon togra ionaid ar leith á phlé faoi láthair don ghnó eile a dhún a raibh 15 dhuine fostaithe go lánaimseartha ann is mithid a lua go bhfuil fás agus borradh ag teacht ar ghnó eile san eastát céanna — comhlacht a dhéanann lampaí agus troscán éadrom speisialta. Tá a mhonarcha siúd le cóiriú anois le cuidiú leis an bhforbairt. Ó bunaíodh an gnó beagán le cois bliana ó shin tá 14 phost nua cruthaithe ann.

Tá béim ar leith á cur ag an Údarás ar acmhainní nádúrtha an cheantair a fhorbairt agus tá dul chun cinn maith á dhéanamh go háirithe sa tionscal feirmeoireachta éisc. Tuigim ón Údarás go bhfuil tograí miontionscail éagsúla á bplé acu d'Acaill agus go mbeidh cuid acu ag teacht ar aghaidh de réir a chéile i gcomhair cinnithe. Tuigim chomh maith go bhfuil plé ar siúl ag an Údarás maidir le haonaid fiontraíochta a chur ar fáil i nGob a' Choire agus go bhfuil ionad fiontraíochta á thógáil ar an gCorrán le cabhair deontais ón Údarás.

Go hachomair, mar sin, ní féidir liom glacadh leis go bhfuil claonadh leanúnach chailliúint post ann i dtionscail faoi scáth an Údaráis in Acaill. Tá gach dícheall á dhéanamh ag an Údarás chun deiseanna fostaíochta a chruthú ar an oilean. Is go maith a thuigeann an tÚdarás an cúram atá orthu agus an dúshlan atá rompu maidir le poist bhreise a chur ar fáil ar an oileán agus táim sásta nach bhfuil gá le treoir ar leith uaimse chun na críche sin.

At the end of 1997, 97 people were employed full-time and 200 part-time in the Achill region. That compares with 88 people full-time and 189 part-time two years before that.

I understand from Údarás na Gaeltachta that they are seeking a replacement for the factory which made ropes and polypropylene bags. They [151] hope this new industry employing seven full-time staff compared with the eight part-time jobs which were there previously will open soon.

Although an industry employing 15 people full-time closed recently, on the same estate an industry making lamps and special furniture is thriving and 14 new jobs have been created there since its establishment.

Údarás na Gaeltachta is putting special emphasis on the development of natural resources in the Achill region, particularly in relation to fish farming. They are also looking at a number of small projects for Achill and at the establishment of a special enterprise unit in Gob a' Choire. A special enterprise unit is currently being built in Corrán.

[152] I cannot accept that there is a continuous job loss in Achill although I accept that there is no job increase and that there is a need for major development there. However, Údarás has assured me that it is making great efforts to increase the employment possibilities in the region and it is hopeful of successful results. These efforts will be continued. I am assured that Údarás fully understands the need to face the challenges before it and I have no doubt it will continue in its efforts to attract as many jobs to the Achill region as possible. Achill will not be a forgotten Gaeltacht.

The Seanad adjourned at 1.50 p.m. until 2.30 p.m. on Tuesday, 23 June 1998.


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