The IDA Ireland-owned lands in Skibbereen referred to are currently un-zoned. The Agency is actively seeking re-zoning of this area as part of the ongoing future proofing of its portfolio to ensure the availability of suitable property to potential FDI clients. An application to Cork County Council to have the lands re-zoned has already been made and a proposal is due before the Council Board this month.
Provisional results for 2015 show that client companies of IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland that are based in Cork employ almost 56,000 people. In 2015, there were 148 IDA Ireland client companies based in the county. 19 micro-enterprises were also supported with grant aid by the West Cork Local Enterprise Office. Examples of local companies recently supported by the West Cork Local Enterprise Office include Zoe Scientific and Versadrones, both of which are in Skibbereen.
In November 2015, Spearline Labs, the world's largest toll and toll-free number testing provider, announced that it is hiring 20 people at its Skibbereen base as it looks to double its workforce over the next 18 months. The expansion is supported by my Department through Enterprise Ireland. Enterprise Ireland was also a lead sponsor of National Digital Week, which took place in Skibbereen last November and was involved – in conjunction with the Ludgate Group – in the promotion of entrepreneurship events and start-up initiatives. Companies such as West Cork Distillers and ICP Newtech have also been supported under Enterprise Ireland’s High Potential Start-Up funding programmes.
In October 2015, I launched the Action Plan for Jobs South West 2015-2017. The goal of this plan is to capitalise on regional strengths and assets to support businesses in the region and create employment. I am confident that the plan, which includes over 250 separate actions, can help the south-west unlock its full economic potential.