17 Ean 2011, 16.00

Representatives from Mayo, Kerry and Wicklow County Councils will attend the meeting of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Enterprise, Trade and Innovation tomorrow, Tuesday, 18 January to discuss job creation opportunities in the renewable energy sector in each county.

Last December, the Committee produced a study Report on Job Creation Through Use of Renewable Energy Resources which evaluated submissions from 17 County Councils to identify potential job creation opportunities in a single location in Connacht/Ulster, Leinster and Munster through harnessing local renewable energy resources similar to the Gussing Project in Austria.

The town of Güssing in south-eastern Austria has created a unique model of creating energy from renewable local resources. Since the early 1990s, over 50 companies and 1,000 jobs have been created in the town in the renewable energy sector alone, while extra income is being brought into the town through eco-tourism.

The Committee’s report recommends that proposals from Kerry, Mayo and Wicklow were the most conducive to job creation, while the Committee is also recommending that careful consideration is given to the establishment of a solarteur school at the Kerry location. Solarteur schools provide training and qualifications in the use of renewable energy technologies to craftsmen and students from technical colleges. Through this training, skilled workers who have already qualified in trades such as carpentry, electrics and plumbing can meet the needs of the renewable energy industry.

Representatives from Mayo, Kerry and Wicklow County Councils have been invited to attend the Committee meeting tomorrow to discuss their individual projects.

Deputy Willie Penrose, chair of the Committee said: “Greater use of renewable energy is not just good for economic, energy security and environmental reasons, it has the potential to create thousands of new jobs in Ireland.

“Given the economic downturn, this has the potential to offset job losses in other sectors and provide new opportunities for workers with a variety of skills.

“Renewable energy projects provide opportunities at every stage of development from initial research through to manufacturing, construction, operation and maintenance.

“While the Committee has no powers or money to facilitate these plans by the County Councils, we will use its status to highlight these very important projects and forward the proposals to the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation for his consideration.”

The meeting will take place in Committee Room 2 at 2pm on Tuesday 18 January 2011.

For further information, contact:

Ciaran Brennan,
Houses of the Oireachtas,
Communications Unit,
Leinster House,
Dublin 2

P: +3531 618 3903
M: 086-0496518
F: +3531 618 4551
E: ciaran.brennan@oireachtas.ie