Denis Naughten has welcomed the publication of the western jobs strategy stating that it will help to focus on our strength’s as a region. However he has added it is important this does not just mean investment for Galway City, Castlebar and some of the bigger towns.
“While we have seen job creation in the West over the last couple of years, and that is to be welcomed, the problem is that it is far too focused on multinational investment in the major towns and in particular in Galway City,” stated Denis Naughten.
“Projections based on the IDA record over the last five years show that for every 29 jobs going to Galway City over the next three years of the Government’s plan, County Roscommon can expect just one job and East Galway can expect another.
“If towns in East Galway and County Roscommon are to see the benefits of economic growth, then much more effort is needed to support existing local employers and those who want to set up or expand a business in their own local area.
“The reality is that for many of the smaller provincial towns like Ballinasloe, Roscommon, Boyle, Castlerea and Ballaghaderreen and local towns like Ballygar, Glenamaddy, Dunmore, Elphin and Strokestown it will be local employers and local jobs that will turn around the economy. Now that the recovery is firmly taking root we need to ensure that the communities outside the likes of Castlebar and Galway also benefit from the economic turnaround.
“Roscommon, East Galway, Leitrim and many midland counties experienced an acute rise in unemployment and emigration and there is a particular need for a programme of up-skilling and retraining to provide opportunities for jobseekers to work locally.
“One of the key aspects of that is to support the local enterprise offices (LEOs) across the country. For example, the LEOs in both County Galway and County Roscommon usually exhaust all of their grant aid by the middle of the year, forcing businesses to hold off on investment or relocate to other counties. This is just not good enough,” concluded Denis Naughten.