Wednesday, 4 February 2004

Questions (117)

Phil Hogan

Question:

201 Mr. Hogan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the steps that are being implemented to date to enact the task force report at Gweedore Industrial Estate, County Donegal. [29943/03]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs)

Following the report of the working group on the creation of employment in the Gaeltacht, an action plan was launched in December 2002 by Údarás na Gaeltachta to tackle the significant unemployment problem in the Gaoth Dobhair area. An implementation committee was established to direct and implement the plan and an employment target of 200 new jobs a year was set for the Gaoth Dobhair business park. I am pleased to inform the Deputy that already, arising from this plan, 185 new jobs have been created and 274 new jobs have been approved.

As part of the continuing implementation of the action plan, an energetic marketing campaign has been initiated to attract investment from the services sector to the Gaoth Dobhair area and Údarás na Gaeltachta has to date hosted 20 site visits from various companies who were examining investment opportunities in European countries. These site visits have yielded two project approvals, while others are still in negotiation. A further positive development is the joint venture between Údarás and National University of Ireland, Galway, to invest €2 million to develop a third level educational facility and a resource for a modern internationally traded services company.

In progressing other recommendations contained in the report, Údarás na Gaeltachta, in co-operation with my Department and other relevant agencies, is continuing to develop and upgrade the telecommunications and physical infrastructure of Gaeltacht areas. In addition, new training and educational initiatives are being promoted in order to assist upskilling and retraining of the labour market. A greater emphasis is also being placed on the natural resources of the Gaeltacht and, in this connection, I should mention the scheme Fiontraíocht Ghaeilge sa Ghaeltacht, which was introduced by an tÚdarás last year and supports the recommendations of the working group in regard to the Irish language.