I was very disappointed at the company's announcement of plans to reduce its workforce by 170, including 75 permanent jobs, at its Brinny facility in County Cork. I understand that the decision was taken because of reduced demand for the company's main product, coupled with the recent announcement by the parent company that, as part of major global restructuring, it intends cutting payroll costs by 10% worldwide. The company plans to implement the redundancies initially on a voluntary basis, but will continue to employ about 760 people after these redundancies.
FÁS has made contact with the company and will make available its full range of training and job placement services to the affected workers. Companies in the Cork Harbour area, particularly in chemical-pharmaceutical manufacturing, will be contacted as a potential source of alternative employment for the redundant workers.
There are currently 134 IDA-assisted companies in County Cork employing approximately 18,000 people, an increase of 20% in IDA supported employment since 1999. In 2003, the agency announced 11 new projects for the Cork area, with a job potential of 800 including manufacturing, international services and high value research and development-based activities.
The pharmaceutical and health care sector continues to perform well in the Cork area. In 2003 a number of welcome new projects were announced, such as the establishment of Fournier Laboratories' investment in Carrigtwohill with a job content of 60; a €28 million investment by Italian pharmaceutical company, Recordati, in Ringaskiddy, also with a job content of 60, and a €70 million investment in Carrigtwohill by German pharmaceutical company Altana, with a job content of 150. This was in addition to the €35 million investment in research and development by GlaxoSmithKline, Carrigaline. Pepsi Cola also implemented a major expansion programme in Cork involving an additional 250 jobs.
I assure the Deputy that IDA Ireland, along with the other State development agencies, under the aegis of my Department, will continue to actively market the Cork area for enterprise development.