MANUFACTURING JOB LOSSES STEMMED IN FIRST GOOD YEAR
REGIONAL IDA BOSS DESCRIBES JOB LOSSES OVER LAST EIGHT TO TEN YEARS AS ‘HORRENDOUS’
THE international press’s perception of the border situation costs Louth industry over many years, Michael Mullally admits at a county council meeting.
However, the IDA regional manager points out 300 jobs are created in the manufacturing industry in 1988, and he hopes Louth has once and for all turned the corner.
He also reveals that through an agreement with the private sector, planning permission would be sought soon for a 27,000 sq ft advance factory in Dundalk.
Mr Mullally states that for the first time since he came to the area, last year saw a halt in the loss of manufacturing jobs.
He describes job losses in the county over the last eight to ten years as ‘ horrendous’ but asks councillors to be satisfied with the growth in 1988.
There are now good lean, mean export companies in Co. Louth which will expand in the years to come.
The IDA manager feels they have to look more within the county to provide jobs, as there are people and companies with the dynamism to grow nationally and internationally.
With inflation at 2.5% and interest rates 4 to 5% lower than abroad, there should be less need for these industries to look outside Louth for expansion.
Deputy Dermot Ahern says he has been assured that Louth is getting high priority.
He adds that Minister for Industry and Commerce Ray Burke is going to the United States and one of his intentions is to talk to the Harris Corporation about its plans in relation to Ecco.
Mr Ahern says Louth does have a problem attracting industry because of its location.
Cllr Bernard Markey believes Mr Mullally and his team have been downgraded because of the inadequate number of enquiries directed their way from Dundalk.
‘Co. Louth isn’t getting a fair crack of the whip,’ he adds.
Deputy Brendan McGahon points the finger at bureaucracy in Dublin as one of the reasons for the decline in Dundalk to 32% unemployment.
What is needed is a cohesive border area survival policy.
Mr McGahon remarks four millionaires born and bred in Dundalk should get together and do something for their native area before it is too late.
Mr Mullally thinks the designation for capital grants of up to 60% is a good string to the IDA’s bow, while the Anglo-Irish Fund is a positive influence in the south and he would like to see more use of it in this area.
The Co. Louth Enterprise Fund could also make an impact, and he describes the development of incubator units at the Regional College as one of the biggest things to happen in education locally.
He doesn’t believe Louth has been downgraded on the basis of enquiries.
Mr Mullally adds Japanese investment is one of the most promising sectors. The IDA has doubled staff resources in this area.
The perception of the border situation by the international press does nothing for investors considering coming here.
Pupils from Dundalk Grammar Junior School who raised €1,500 by taking part in the MS Readathon in January 2004.