Written Answers. - Job Losses.

Cecilia Keaveney

Question:

193 Cecilia Keaveney asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the plans, if any, she has to develop a strategy to address the high level of job losses in County Donegal following the collapse of the textile industry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19882/00]

I am aware of the difficulties being experienced by the clothing and textile industry in Donegal but neither the industry nor the development agencies would equate current difficulties with a state of collapse. In recognition of current difficulties, however, both IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland have reorganised their Donegal-based services to deal with regional issues, including actions arising from the report of the Donegal Employment Initiative – the task force established in 1998 following the announcement of job losses at Fruit of the Loom in Donegal.

IDA is actively seeking to increase the Objective 1 region's share of jobs in Greenfield projects from 25% (at present) to 50%.

In April of this year Enterprise Ireland, in conjunction with Údarás na Gaeltachta and Donegal County Enterprise Board, organised a seminar for the clothing and textile industry on the theme ‘The Way Forward'. The purpose of the seminar was to outline some new ideas and best practice for the industry.

Enterprise Ireland has recently articulated a clear regional development mission and will be devoting greater resources to boosting the indigenous sector and the potential for high growth firms.

Enterprise Ireland is currently undertaking a strategic review of the Irish knitwear industry in conjunction with the Irish Knitwear Exporter's Guild, IKEG. Its primary objective is to examine the current position of Irish knitters and to assess their capabilities, strengths and weaknesses, and to develop a growth strategy. Other initiatives planned to support the clothing industry in the county include: implementation of a Donegal Clothing Promotion over the next six months in conjunction with Donegal CEB and Údarás na Gaeltachta and introduction of an eNetworking group across Ireland, including Donegal, to facilitate sharing of information, contacts and ideas due to commence over next six weeks.
In early September the Minister, Deputy McDaid, announced the Enterprise Ireland supported investment by Clubman Omega with the creation of 37 new jobs. This announcement will see the investment of over £1 million by Clubman in Inishowen in a move which will see them take over an IDA building used by JayBee in Carndonagh. This is Clubman's second expansion this year.
Enterprise Ireland is currently in discussion with several companies, new and existing, in Donegal in relation to new investments. It has recently approved funding for a meat plant at Carrigans, Donegal which will lead to the creation of nearly 40 new jobs.
I am confident that the combined efforts of all those involved in implementing the recommendations of the report of the Donegal Employment Initiative will ensure that progress continues in the county.