Local TD Denis Naughten has been informed by the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar TD that he has asked the Western Region Enterprise Committee to look at the local implications of the ongoing review of operations by Aptar in Ballinasloe.
The Tánaiste & Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment was responding to a Dáil question posed by Deputy Naughten following his previous request that all State agencies, as well as the two Local Authorities in Galway and Roscommon, be brought together, to implement a co-ordinated strategy for Ballinasloe and the surrounding communities in East Galway and South Roscommon.
In response the Tánaiste pointed out that the Western Region Enterprise Committee is made up of all the Local Authorities as well as the Enterprise Agencies, Local Enterprise Offices, tourism bodies, third level colleges, Education & Training Boards as well as other business representatives. As a result, the Tánaiste believes that this is the most appropriate structure to consider the local implications of the Aptar decision.
“I also understand that there is ongoing engagement between Government and the company, and I hope that this can help to secure employment in Ballinasloe in both the short and medium term,” stated Denis Naughten.
“I have pointed out to Minister Varadkar that it is hugely frustrating that Ballinasloe always seems to be just one positive decision away from unlocking its full potential. As a result, I believe what is now needed is a focused strategy for the town of Ballinasloe involving all the State bodies working with the management of Aptar, but also exploring the full potential of the St. Brigid’s Hospital campus.
“We already have private investors looking at the old hospital complex itself based on the work I did with Ballinasloe Area Community Development Ltd. (BACD) on ‘Reimagining St. Brigid’s’ but there is far greater potential on the campus with the rail, motorway, broadband, gas, industrial land, health and water infrastructure now available to the town.
“I doubt there is a town in Ireland with infrastructure on a par with Ballinasloe and we must now see a very focused employment plan for the town from the Western Region Enterprise Committee following the request of the Tánaiste.
“The town also has huge potential to become the recreational tourism crossroads of Ireland with the north-south Beara Breffni way walking route, which secured additional Government funding this week, and the proposed Dublin-Galway greenway intersecting in Ballinasloe.
“I welcome the intervention of Leo Varadkar following my direct request to him and I now hope that State bodies will act immediately on this request to exploit the full potential of the area both in East Galway and South Roscommon,” concluded Denis Naughten.
Link to the reimagining St. Brigid’s report:https://denisnaughten.ie/2018/07/06/reimagining-st-brigids-report/
For Oral Answer on : 14/07/2020
Question Number(s): 39 Question Reference(s): 15676/20
Department: Business, Enterprise and Innovation
Asked by: Denis Naughten T.D.
To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Business; Enterprise and Innovation the steps he is taking to secure employment in Ballinasloe, County Galway following a review of operations announced by a company (details supplied).; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Details Supplied) Aptar
I understand that staff at Aptar have been informed that the company is reviewing its operation at Ballinasloe. While no decision has yet been taken, I am informed that this review could lead to redundancies later this year. IDA Ireland are in close contact with the firm and are working to try avert, if possible, any potential job losses.
The uncertainty the situation has created is obviously an unwelcome development for the staff at the company and the region. My primary concern is for the workers and families who could be directly affected, many of whom have worked with the company for many years. In the regrettable event that redundancies do result, the Government will make every State support available to those impacted in order to help them transition and find new employment opportunities.
I am asking the West Regional Enterprise Committee, on which the key agencies and local authorities are represented, to consider all scenarios in relation to this company.
The situation at the company is particularly unfortunate given the wider economic difficulties that have been presented by COVID-19. My focus, since I became Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, has been on supporting businesses and protecting jobs. We have also been working hard on the forthcoming Jobs Stimulus Package, which will include far-reaching measures to set us on the right course for the next five years and beyond. Our aim is to create new employment opportunities all over the country, including in County Galway.
My Department and its Agencies have also been working hard, over a sustained period, to support job creation in the regions. This has included setting ambitious targets to ensure that employment and investment are distributed as evenly as possible across the country. Last year, there were over 21,000 people employed in IDA-supported firms in Galway. This is almost double the number employed in 2010 (11,235). While the period ahead may prove more challenging, an important objective will remain securing new foreign direct investment for the County.
Wider enterprise efforts are also underway to generate new growth in Galway and the surrounding area. For example, regional stakeholders – including Enterprise Ireland, the LEOs and the Higher and Further Education Institutes – are working together on implementation of the Regional Enterprise Plan for the West. This is aimed at strengthening the environment for job creation in the region and Ballinasloe will also benefit from this.
Another important initiative in this context is the Regional Enterprise Development Fund, through which over €16.7m in funding for the West – over three competitive calls – has been approved for collaborative regional enterprise projects. The region has had particular recent success, with five Galway-based projects being awarded a total of €9.6m. These projects are currently being developed and their completion will enhance the attractiveness of the area for further investment and job creation.