asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if his Department will give special attention to the town grouping Ballygar, Dunmore, Glenamaddy, Mountbellew and Tuam, County Galway in which there has been a net loss of 118 jobs from 1973 to 1975; and the steps that will be taken to create employment in these towns.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Galway Employment.
I have been informed by the Industrial Development Authority that they are conscious of the need for further industrial employment in the town groupings to which the Deputy refers.
The authority are giving priority to Tuam, the largest town in the group, in their industrial promotional activities and in the recent past have brought five industrialists to the town on industrial itineraries. In all of the towns in the group, with the exception of Mountbellew, the authority have industrial sites which they will continue to promote for suitable industrial projects. The authority are of course ready to support any suitable project proposed for these towns by local or incoming industrialists.
Despite the Minister's reply, the fact is that there was approximately a 30 per cent job loss in the town grouping to which I have referred from 1973 to 1975. Is the Minister aware that there is a considerable number of people, including school leavers, who are most anxious to get employment in the area but from what the Minister has told me it does not look as if they will get work in that part of north Galway? Can the Department do anything to create employment there?
The factual position is that this is the town grouping which has fared worst in the western region in terms of net job gains in manufacturing employment since 1973. While the total job approvals have matched up well to the targets in the regional industrial plan, the job losses have continued to outstrip the gains since 1973, so that the net job losses in the region are unrelated. That affirmation that this is the grouping which has fared worst in the guidelines of the Department and of the IDA indicates that it is the grouping which calls for and which receives the greatest effort. The existence of the sites that I have mentioned and of a very strong promotion by the IDA for Tuam is evidence of our concern. I understand that the job losses have been because of the reduction in employment in Erin Foods and the Irish Sugar Company which in turn is the consequence of a fall in supplies of sugar beet. The need of the area is undoubted and I understand from the IDA that it is being given the maximum possible priority for solution through all of the mechanisms at the disposal of the Department.
I am glad the Minister is giving priority to Tuam and I would ask him to give special attention also to the other towns in the area. The people are not interested in job approvals. What they want are jobs.
I will note what the Deputy has said.