Written Answers. - Drogheda Independent.

369.

asked the Minister for Industry, Trade Commerce and Tourism if his Department are aware of the serious job losses at theDrogheda Independent, Shop Street, Drogheda; if his Department have been in consultation with Independent Newspapers with a view to minimising the job losses and assisting the company in restructuring this important local company with a view to securing its future; the discussions, if any, that have taken place between the Industrial Development Authority and his Department in this regard; the assistance his Department propose to give and if he will make a statement on the matter.

I understand that a reorganisation at theDrogheda Independent has entailed a number of voluntary redundancies as part of the process of making the firm more competitive and helping to secure most of the jobs involved, in the face of the fall off in sales in this industrial sector. The reorganisation of work and the appropriate levels of staffing are, of course, matters for the management in consultation with the relevant trade unions.

Under existing IDA grant criteria for the sector, capital grants are normally not provided, although proposals can be considered which would generate clear economic benefits, for example export earnings. In addition, because of the strategic importance of new technology to the newspaper industry, the IDA are prepared to consider the provision of grants towards the retraining of operatives in key aspects of such new technology.

Grants for capital replacement were paid to the company by the IDA in 1982.