Written Answers. - Job Creation.

Cecilia Keaveney

Question:

194 Cecilia Keaveney asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the current position in relation to the Donegal task force report; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19883/00]

The immediate priority of the Donegal employment initiative was to facilitate re-entry to employment or retraining for all those who lost their jobs in Fruit of the Loom and other plants in Donegal in recent times. A programme of registration interviews was organised by FÁS and all of the redundant workers were offered re-training opportunities.

The longer-term priority of the Donegal employment initiative was to draw up a set of recommendations for establishing Donegal as a prime, competitive and attractive location for job creation. The report of the task force presents a detailed analysis of the development challenge facing the county and recommends a seven year development strategy to implement the investment priorities identified. On receipt of the report, the Government decided that all relevant Departments should examine the report and consider the investment priorities it proposed in drafting the operational programmes of the National Development Plan, 2000-06.

I met the chairman and members of the task force on 23 November 1999 and 17 February 2000 to discuss follow-up action arising from their report. We agreed that an appropriate mechanism was needed to oversee the implementation of the priority actions identified in the report and to liaise with Departments and State agencies in advance of setting up the operational programmes to implement the National Develop ment Plan. We further agreed that the county development board would provide the framework within which such follow-up mechanisms could be readily devised. The chairman of the task force undertook to establish a framework aligned to the structure of the county development board to enable the various agencies which were involved in the work of the task force to meet and co-ordinate their efforts at local level. I am satisfied that progress can be made on this basis.