Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Blanchardstown (Dublin) Hyster Plant Project.


asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce in relation to the industrial project to be located in the former Hyster plant in Dublin 15; the way in which the underlying principles of the proposed deal to locate the new enterprise there are different to those which underpinned the former industrial project; whether he has satisfied himself that the same loss of grants and employment will not arise in this case; and if he will outline the reasons for his view, indicating whether the Government are considering any change in the strategy of locating or grant-aiding in circumstances such as these.


asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce the present position regarding the replacement industry which has been secured for the closed Hyster factory in Blanchardstown, Dublin 15.

I propose to take Questions Nos. 21 and 50 together.

As Deputies will appreciate, the attraction of replacement industries to particular locations and the negotiation of terms and conditions is a matter for the IDA. Following the closure of the Hyster plant last July and IDA, in accordance with their normal practice, undertook a search for an appropriate replacement industry. Last week they reached final agreement with Thermo King Europe of Galway to take over the former Hyster factory at Blanchardstown and expand their production there. The plant is expected to be in operation in April. The project is expected to create 207 jobs by 1990.

I feel sure that Deputies will agree that the IDA are to be commended for their achievement in this matter and I see no reason at this stage to suggest any change in the well tried and proven practices for attracting replacement industries followed by the IDA in cases such as this.

I welcome the fact that a replacement industry has been found for the Hyster plant. It is an area where there is high unemployment. There have been many spectacular failures, unfortunately, in the Snugboro Industrial Estate and apart from Hyster, the Trilogy and Mostec Corporations also went into receivership. I hope the incoming industry will last much longer in that estate. In relation to the Hyster plant what steps are being taken to recover the £15 million which was paid out by way of grants to the Hyster Corporation? Is there any security for the moneys which are still outstanding or do we just join the queue of other creditors and approach the liquidator at the end of the line? Can the Minister tell us also whether the ownership of the R & D work which was done has been established and who now has the beneficial ownership? If ownership has not been established, what steps are being taken to establish it?

In relation to the final part of the question, I can tell the Deputy from the information available to me that the question of the ownership of the R & D work which took place there has not been finalised. I can also inform the Deputy and the House that some of the Hyster assets and liabilities have been transferred to Thermo King. Much of the machinery which the new company will be using is very compatible with the machinery which is already in place. The negotiations between the promoter and the IDA are confidential. The detail of such negotiations is never given out here but I can assure the Deputy and the House that the IDA are pursuing the parent company to recover the outstanding balance.

In relation to the number of jobs which will be created, I was somewhat disappointed with the figure of 207 jobs to be created by 1990. I understood from the statements issued in the past couple of weeks that approximately 200 jobs were to be created by the end of this year and perhaps even double that figure by 1990. Will the Minister confirm that 207 jobs are to be created by 1990? In view of the fact that engineering jobs, similar to those of the last firm, will be created using the same plant and machinery, I should like to know if the Minister has pressed Thermo King to re-employ those previously employed by Hyster? I suggest that the Minister press the new concern to employ those people in view of the fact that there is huge unemployment in the area and that the area has suffered the loss of Mostec and Hyster in the past four years. Will the Minister recommend to Thermo King that they re-employ the engineering staff who were engaged by Hyster?

We must have finality on this question as I must move on to deal with questions nominated for priority.

My reply will be brief. I should like to suggest to the Deputy that he should wait for the official announcement from the Minister, or the IDA, concerning such projects because newspaper speculation about the number of jobs can often be misleading.

Ministerial statements concerning jobs can be misleading. In fact, the number of jobs announced by Ministers never materialise.

I made the official statement last week and I announced that 207 jobs will be created. I have had discussions with the company in regard to the possibility of employing many of the employees of Hyster and I understand that recruitment advertisements will be appearing this week. I have no doubt that the new employers will take the experience of Hyster employees into consideration but, at the end of the day, we must leave it to the company to recruit their staff.

I should like to ask the Minister if he will agree that the time is right for the payment of grants to be related to the number of jobs delivered rather than the number of jobs projected.

I cannot permit that question because I have already encroached by some minutes on the time allocated to priority questions.

I have already done what has been suggested by the Deputy. Grants will be related to jobs performance in future.