Gaeltacht Jobs At Highest Level In Ten Years

29 Jan 2018 | 10.05 am

Gaeltacht Jobs At Highest Level In Ten Years

Údarás firms added 630 full-time jobs in 2017

29 Jan 2018 | 10.05 am

Údarás na Gaeltachta says that jobs growth last year has increased the number of people employed by companies it supports in the Gaeltacht to its highest level in almost a decade, with a net increase of 155 jobs in client firms during the year.

The agency’s review of 2017 says firms in receipt of Údarás supports are employing more than 7,500 people in Gaeltacht areas, with food and drink, medical device and traditional manufacturing sectors showing the highest increases.

The agency warned that Brexit “may well be one of the biggest challenges Gaeltacht companies will face in the years ahead”, as almost 30% of client export sales going to the UK and the EU. The agency has a support programme for affected companies.

Just 630 full-time jobs were created in Údarás na Gaeltachta client companies in 2017, up by 155 on 2016, and the first time since 1996 that there was in increase in every county in any one year.

Donegal was the top performer, creating 103 jobs through expansions at companies such Vhi, Randox Teo and Arán Ard Teo.

Chief executive Mícheál Ó hÉanaigh (pictured) commented:  “It is a huge boost for us to see that our development strategies have been a success and therefore that we are achieving our employment targets.

“We will be implementing our new strategy over the next three years and we are very happy to add to the organisation’s positive results and consequently support the sustainable development of the Gaeltacht. We always welcome new businesses, both large and small, which will contribute to strengthening the employment base in rural Gaeltacht areas.”

The additional jobs mean there were 7,503 full-time and 606 part-time jobs in Údarás  companies at year end, the highest number since 2008. In contrast, job losses occurred in the film and television, fish farming and data processing sectors.

The agency has approved plans to invest €28m in new projects which will create 471 jobs, it hopes, over the next few years. It did not say how much support it had given to the companies in which job growth occurred in 2017.

Apart from jobs in commercial projects, there was an increase of 72 in the number of participants on Social Employment Schemes in the Gaeltacht during 2017, with 1,048 participants and 50 supervisors employed throughout the Gaeltacht. In 2017, 412 new participants were placed on these schemes and 340 participants completed their schemes. Social employment schemes play an important role in providing work experience and training for the Gaeltacht community, the agency said.

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