Thursday, 16 November 2006
Industrial Development Bill 2006: Second Stage
Seymour Crawford (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
I have one case where the enterprise board gave a grant towards setting up a small company in a farmyard, yet the council is telling the person in question he will not get the planning permission to change from agricultural to industrial use. That shows how negative and out of touch some of these people are. The Quinn Group in Cavan is another example of a local person giving tremendous employment through his group's insurance and other operations.
I have major anxieties over the farming and pig industries. Unless we can act to safeguard those from the nitrates directive, we could lose more jobs in Cavan-Monaghan. Tourism and conference centres are doing well in spite of the Troubles.
There is a commitment from the UK Government towards the peace process in Northern Ireland in real financial terms. I wish to ensure our Government has the same proud record as it had at the Anglo-Irish Agreement and the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. Money was made available through IFI and EU funding. Thankfully, our Government now has sufficient funds for this as a result of the Celtic tiger etc.
Money must be invested not just in the Six Counties, but in at least some of the six Border counties. Sligo and Louth have received fairly major investment in one way or another, such as through colleges, industry etc. The likes of Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal have not. I urge the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, as well as the Government as a whole, to ensure they use the next few weeks and months to make a major commitment to re-stabilising that area, which suffered so much over the past 35 years. It suffered in many ways over which we had no control.
There is goodwill and opportunity there. The UK Government has already made a commitment of sorts. I urge our Government to do the same. We on this side of the House will give the Government any support required to get that package through.