Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Wexford Firm.

7.

asked the Minister for Labour if he will elaborate on the comments he is reported in the media to have made in Wexford (details supplied) that he would do everything in his power to ensure that alternative employment would be found should a firm (details supplied) in Wexford close down; the steps he has taken so far to honour this commitment, or the steps that are planned; and the way in which he hopes to involve AnCO in a scheme designed to save jobs at the plant.

A meeting took place with a representative of the firm during which alternative employment possibilities were outlined by him. In response to this representation I undertook to have AnCO examine in full these alternatives when they were finalised, with a view to providing the maximum assistance possible.

At this stage the company are in discussion with their parent company as to possible options. When these discussions are concluded and a decision taken as to what the plant's future is going to be, AnCO will them be in a position to consider how any training needs can be met.

Will the Minister indicate if there are any other State agencies involved in these discussions? Will he indicate if the trade union representatives of the employees of this company — Smiths of Wexford — are involved in these discussions? Are they being kept aware of what is going on?

My understanding is that the trade union involved locally is aware of what is happening. It was through their agency that I met with the representative of the company. At this stage I do not know if other State companies are involved in the discussions. When discussions between the local company and the parent company in France are finalised and possible options precisely identified, I undertook that the resources of my Department and related agencies would be made available. I can tell the Deputy that that same facility will, no doubt, be available from other State agencies.