Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 10 Oct 2001

Vol. 541 No. 5

Written Answers. - Factory Closures.

Thomas P. Broughan


119 Mr. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the discussions she has had with the management of ISPAT prior to the decision to close the company; the arrangements which have been put in place to provide retraining for those who lost jobs; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23182/01]

My Department had been in regular contact with the management of Irish ISPAT in regard to the company's obligations under the 1996 Sale Agreement. I was also aware of the strong competitive difficulties internationally for producers of steel. However, I was dismayed to learn from the management of the company on 15 June 2001 that it was going to shut down its steel manufacturing plant at Haulbowline, County Cork.

I travelled to London on 22 June 2001 and met with senior management of ISPAT International who stated that they considered their Irish subsidiary was not capable of achieving viability. Following that, Irish ISPAT went into liquidation on 28 June 2001.

I want to inform Deputies of my appreciation of the efforts of the Labour Relations Commission to assist the management of Irish ISPAT and the trade unions to work out a viability plan, which unfortunately did not result in the continuation of operations at the plant.

With regard to the retraining of the ISPAT employees, I understand that FÁS has met the employees to establish their training needs. About 218 of the employees have registered for either job vacancies or training or re-skilling etc. and FÁS is currently preparing programmes around their needs. A number of the craftspeople and a number of those with computer skills have found alternative employment. Also, approximately 18 apprentices have been placed in new jobs.

I understand that there is a high level of satisfaction among the former ISPAT employees and their trade unions with the response by FÁS to the situation. A FÁS co-ordinating committee is in place and a representative of the ISPAT trade unions has been nominated to this committee.

FÁS will continue to offer its services to those employees wishing to avail of them.