Gaeltacht based companies have been seriously affected by the national and global economic downturn and as a result, net employment in Údarás na Gaeltachta supported companies fell by 771 - or 8.8 per cent last year. According to the Údarás Annual Report just released, total employment in client companies now stands at 7,472, with just 710 of these created as new jobs throughout 2009.
Liam Ó Cuinneagain, chairman of Údarás, said that the main job losses occurred as a result of Gaeltacht enterprises restructuring, downsizing, or cutting costs to maintain competitiveness.
CEO of Údarás na Gaeltachta, Padraig Ó hAoilain, added that 2009 was a particularly challenging year in terms of job approvals due to the reduction in capital funding available, brought about by the substantial decline in the sale of assets, a weak property market, and Exchequer cutbacks.
“Experience from previous years has demonstrated that close to 1,000 new job approvals are required to ensure annual targets are reached; otherwise it will be very difficult for an tÚdarás to meet its employment targets over the next few years despite having a healthy pipeline of new business enquiries,” he said.
The CEO rubbished “sensational” media allegations regarding Údarás expenditure on overseas travel, asserting all expenditure on travel fully complies with Department of Finance guidelines.