Written Answers. - Job Losses.

Deirdre Clune

Question:

31 Ms Clune asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the background to the closure of Sealand in Cork in January 2000 after only a few months of operation; the grants paid to Sealand; if those grants will be recouped; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21871/99]

Nora Owen

Question:

79 Mrs. Owen asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the background to the closure of Sealand in Cork in January 2000 after only a few months of operation here; the grants paid to Sealand; if those grants will be recouped; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22045/99]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 31 and 79 together.

The announcement of the closure of the Sealand shared services centre in Cork was a major disappointment for the Government, as well as to the staff in Cork. The closure arose out of the acquisition of Sealand by the Danish Company, Maersk. Maersk operates on the basis of local offices in each country, rather than on the basis of a centralised shared services operation, which was favoured by Sealand. In addition, different computer systems are used by the two companies and the Maersk system will now be adopted. Accordingly, the new owners have decided to close the Cork operation with effect from January next. This does not reflect any negative view of Ireland, indeed the experience that Sealand had in Cork was very positive.
Although the Government had approved grant- aid by IDA Ireland, no grants had actually been paid to the company.
The Government, acting through IDA Ireland, is making every effort to find a replacement company to take over Sealand's Cork facility. Maersk is an active participant in this marketing effort. I am hopeful that there will be a positive outcome in due course.