Údarás na Gaeltachta have published their end of year review, reporting a growth in jobs within the Donegal Gaeltacht and the prospect of further investment in the area for additional employment opportunities.
The review reveals that the number of jobs in the Donegal Gaeltacht was the highest since 2010 with the food and drink, medical and marine sectors experiencing the greatest growth.
Michael Heeny, Director of Enterprise and Employment with Údarás na Gaeltachta says they are on target to create 300 new jobs at the Gweedore Business Park by next year.......
Donegal statistics -
135 new jobs were created in the Donegal Gaeltacht in 2016. When job losses are taken into consideration, there was a significant net gain of 23 jobs overall, which means that there were 2,090 jobs in An tÚdarás client companies at the end of the year – the highest number of jobs since 2010. New jobs were created in companies throughout the Donegal Gaeltacht including Arán Ard Teo., Ard an Rátha; Randox Teo. and Ostre'an Teo., An Clochán Liath; Kombucha Éireannach Teo., Sláinteachas & Lónadóireacht Dhún na nGall and Meastóirí Domhanda Teo., in Páirc Ghnó Ghaoth Dobhair; and Cora Tine Teo., An Fál Carrach. As is evident here, the food & drink, medical devices and marine sectors experienced the greatest growth in 2016 and the largest declines were in the services, textiles and manufacturing sectors.
An tÚdarás last year approved a number of new projects for the Donegal Gaeltacht in which 198 new jobs will be created, involving an anticipated total investment of over €6.23 million when these projects get underway. The majority of job approvals were in the food, marine and services sectors. Additionally, capital investment of €4.3 million was approved during the year for various works at Páirc Ghnó Ghaoth Dobhair to continue the property redevelopment and upgrade programme, the development of storage and logistics facilities, and to carry out required health and safety works on buildings and on the Páirc Ghnó itself.
Some 16 new businesses were set up in the Donegal Gaeltacht with Údarás support in 2016 and thirty-two people were employed in these businesses by year end, including Plaisteach Bhaile na Finne Teo. in Baile na Finne, Bia Beo Natasha Teo., Kombucha Éireannach Teo. in Páirc Ghnó Ghaoth Dobhair and Drioglann Shliabh Liag, to which An Bord Pleanála recently granted planning permission for a new distillery.
Enterprise Development Forum Action Plan
In 2015, an tÚdarás published the action plan, Ag Forbairt na Fiontraíochta ar Pháirc Ghnó Ghaoth Dobhair, which focused on growing employment and enterprise in north-west Donegal. The plan had as its stated objective to support the creation of 300 new jobs and to invest €4.7 million in Páirc Ghnó Ghaoth Dobhair over a three-year period (2015–2017).
For the past year and a half, An tÚdarás have focused particular efforts on this area and as a result:
An investment of €3.2 million has been made in capital expenditure for the space and buildings in the Páirc Ghnó.
- Áislann Ghaoth Dobhair – a total of 8 new high-quality offices and enterprise units have been developed in the Áislann. An tÚdarás have made significant expenditure on buildings, and further developments are planned. A digital unit will be developed within the Áislann focusing on smaller technology projects. A significant upgrade was recently made to the building’s broadband infrastructure. This means that work has now been concluded on the first floor following completion of the Capital Expenditure Programme.
- Approval was granted and funding made available to fill the post of Manager of Áislann Ghaoth Dobhair. The post was advertised in late 2016 and the successful candidate will take up the appointment in early 2017.
188 full-time jobs were approved for Páirc Ghnó Ghaoth Dobhair in 2016. Some 52 of these jobs have been created and are now operating in the Páirc Ghnó.
The LEADER Programme in Donegal has now begun and it is a signal of hope that €3 million will be allocated to this programme for the Donegal Gaeltacht, including the islands. Údarás na Gaeltachta and Comhar na nOileán (on the islands) will be administering the LEADER Programme in the Gaeltacht for the next 5-year period.
Social Employment Schemes
A total of 316 were employed on the social employment schemes in the Donegal Gaeltacht at the end of the year. These are being managed and administered by An tÚdarás and funded by the Department of Social Protection.
During 2016, six Lead Organisations were at various stages in their preparation of language plans for their Language Planning Areas (LPAs) in the Donegal Gaeltacht. Announcements were made during the year in relation to the LPAs for Na Rosa and An Ghaeltacht Láir. Forbairt na Rosann Teo., An Machaire le Chéile Teo. and CDP Na Rosann Teo. were selected as one Lead Organisation to undertake a language plan for the Na Rosa LPA. Submissions are being sought at the moment from organisations/local groups who would be willing to prepare a language plan for the An Ghaeltacht Láir LPA. This means that the language planning process has now begun in each LPA in the Donegal Gaeltacht.
The work in hand in relation to language planning continued in other LPAs and a draft language plan for the Gaoth Dobhair, Rann na Feirste, Anagaire and Loch an Iúir LPA was submitted to Údarás na Gaeltachta at the end of 2016. That plan will be submitted to the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs by the end of January. It is hoped that three language plans (Donegal East LPA, Cloich Chionnaola LPA (Gort an Choirce, An Fál Carrach and Machaire Rabhartaigh) and Árainn Mhór LPA will be ready for submission to the Department by the end of 2017.
Information meetings were organised in Letterkenny in association with Foras na Gaeilge last summer to provide the public with information in relation to language planning in the town under the Gaeltacht Act 2012. The town was officially designated a Gaeltacht Service Town in November and submissions are being sought from organisations who would be willing to undertake the preparation of a language plan for Letterkenny as a Gaeltacht Service Town.
It is hoped an announcement will be made in relation to An Clochán Liath as a Gaeltacht Service Town during 2017.