US technological security company HID Global's announcement that it is to transfer its production facility from Baile na hAbhann into Galway city, reveals that Connemara is “not a priority for this Government”.
This is the view of Sinn Féin Galway City East councillor Mairéad Farrell, who said Government claims that no jobs will be lost in this move “completely misses the point”.
HID Global, which creates products for access and identification-related applications, such as electronic passports and contactless swipe cards, acquired its current site at Páirc Tionscail na Tulaigh, Cois Fharraige, in 2007.
The Minister for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht, and the Islands, Seán Kyne, has been informed that there will be no job losses as a result of the move, and that all employees will have the chance to move. However Cllr Farrell said the situation was "symbolic of a broader policy approach to rural and Gaeltacht areas from Fine Gael".
“Parts of west and south Connemara have some of the highest levels of unemployment anywhere in this State," she said. "The level of emigration from the Connemara Gaeltacht in particular has taken the heart and soul out of villages and rural areas over the past number of years. The Government should be doing everything in its power to not only retain jobs in these communities, but also create new ones."
She also said moving the jobs into Galway would have an adverse affect on the city's already chronic traffic problems. "By transferring all these employees to a work place in the city," she said, "you are adding significantly to the already overly congested morning time and evening time traffic approaching and leaving the city from the west."