A total of 1,038 new jobs were created and 928 new jobs approved in 2007 in Gaeltacht areas, according to their annual report launch this yesterday.
Launching the report, Pádraig Ó hAoláin, Chief Executive of Údarás said that Údarás na Gaeltachta managed to maintain the overall employment base in Gaeltacht industry in 2007 and achieved a modest increase in the overall number of new jobs to bring the total number in full-time employment in client companies to over 8,000 people.
“Significant progress was made in job creation in various sectors, particularly in the services and modern manufacturing sectors, notwithstanding the changed economic climate in the latter half of 2007 which is expected to intensify during 2008.”
“We are facing a challenging year ahead taking into consideration the global economic climate, the impact of the euro/dollar exchange rate on certain companies and the effects of the credit squeeze on some Údarás client companies,” he added.
It will be a major challenge for us to meet the development and employment targets set out for us, but the level of business enquiries and projects in the pipeline for the first half of 2008 are positive indicators.”
“Údarás will continue its strategy of developing and investing in sectors which will generate long term development and employment. Particular emphasis will be placed on development in remote areas where there is high quality industrial and business space available.
“There will be continued emphasis on small to medium sized indigenous businesses in a wide spectrum of sectors including niche manufacturing, internationally traded services and natural resources. Our efforts in supporting client companies to focus on research and development programmes to strengthen their competitiveness will be intensified.
“Emphasis will also be placed on supporting the development of third level education through Irish which ensures the availability of a highly skilled workforce and entrepreneurs for the Gaeltacht, on the development of telecommunications and business infrastructure in addition to community and social infrastructure”.
Mr Ó hAoláin also said that Údarás currently depends to a large extent on income from the sale of its surplus assets to complement the provision of state funding in order to implement its capital programme, and the sale of assets is bound to prove challenging in the current and forecasted economic climate.
Earlier this year, Údarás welcomed the Government’s decision to establish a Government Committee under the Chairmanship of An Taoiseach to formulate a strategy to respond to the recommendations and conclusions of the Socio-Linguistic Study on the use of Irish in the Gaeltacht.
Referring to the strategy, Pádraig Ó hAoláin said that Údarás na Gaeltachta looked forward to having an active role in the implementation and management of the action plan evolved from this process.