Written Answers. - Job Losses.
574 Mr. Davern asked the Minister for Enterprise and Employment the progress, if any, which is being made with regard to a replacement industry for Tipperary town following the closure of the Mass Mutual plants in 1995 and the recent announcement of the closure at the Tambrands factory; the change of policy, if any, there will be to attract industry to Tipperary town in view of this double closure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17043/96]
575 Mr. Davern asked the Minister for Enterprise and Employment if his attention has been drawn to the closure of the Schiessers factory in Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary, and the loss of jobs at the Schiessers factory in Clonmel, County Tipperary; if his attention has been further been drawn to the closure of the Tambrands plant in Tipperary town; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17044/96]
576 Mr. Davern asked the Minister for Enterprise and Employment the requests, if any, he has made to the IDA to locate a replacement industry for Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary, following the announcement of the closure of the Schiessers factory which will result in the loss of 150 jobs in the area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17045/96]
605 Mrs. O'Rourke asked the Minister for Enterprise and Employment the proposals, if any, he has to address the latest round of job losses at Semperit, Tambrands and Schiesser; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16991/96]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 574, 575, 576 and 605 together.
The Deputies are already aware of my serious concerns regarding the recent announcement of the pending closures of the Semperit tyre factory at Ballyfermot, the Tambrands factory in Tipperary Town and the Schiesser plant at Carrick-on-Suir. I have asked IDA Ireland and the other development agencies to make intensive and determined efforts to find replacement industries for these locations.
As regards Semperit, the priority is to find a buyer for the plant and IDA Ireland is currently pursuing a programme of meetings with potential buyers. Meetings have been arranged with a number of potential buyers this week and it is hoped that site visits will be undertaken by some of these companies in the near future. Some of the companies have visited the plant already.
I have taken a personal interest in Semperit for the past six months and I am currently in the process of meeting with a possible potential buyer for the plant in the United States. I had talks with both management and unions on the closure of the plant and the possibility of finding a buyer. I consider that the approach which we are pursuing of trying to find a suitable buyer for the plant is the best possible option.
In relation to the Tambrands and Schiesser plants, I have established an inter-agency enterprise group to address urgently the problems arising from their pending closure and the need to attract replacement industries to Tipperary and Carrick-on-Suir. I referred specifically to the establishment of this group when I recently met a delegation from County Tipperary, comprising public representatives, trade union and local interests. I assured the delegation these locations would receive top priority in the ongoing drive to attract new inward investment.
The inter agency group is being chaired by IDA Ireland's regional director for the area. Forbairt, Shannon Development, FÁS and the South Tipperary county enterprise board are also represented in the group. It will focus on ensuring that the Tambrands and Schiesser plants can be made available for alternative investment purposes; assisting employees with training and retraining opportunities, and assisting workers who wish to pursue entrepreneurial ventures in their own right.
The first meeting of this group took place on 20 September 1996 when a strategy was formulated to promote both locations to potential investors and identify new training needs, outplacement and other job opportunities. The group will liaise closely with unions, workers, public representatives and local interests such as the Chamber of Commerce, to ensure that every opportunity can be exploited to the maximum advantage.
The key ingredients to find replacement industry is the availability of a quality workforce with a proven track record and the availability of quality factory space at competitive rates. Ballyfermot, Tipperary and Carrick-on-Suir are well suited in these respects.