Written answers

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Job Losses

8:00 pm

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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Question 118: To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of jobs in the service sector lost throughout County Kildare to more competitive economies in the past five years; the number of replacement jobs in the same period in the service sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16940/08]

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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Question 121: To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of jobs in the manufacturing sector lost throughout County Kildare to more competitive economies in the past five years; the number of replacement jobs in the same period in the manufacturing sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16943/08]

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Minister, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 118 and 121 together.

There are many factors that influence a firm's decision to relocate, therefore, it is not possible to determine the number of jobs which may have been lost to more competitive economies. Firms adjust their plant location and utilisation strategies to address matters such as accessing new markets, moving production nearer to customers, meeting firm or market specific customer relationship issues, accessing technology. These adjustments also include business takeovers and consolidations. The result is flows of investment and employment across borders. Ireland successfully manages this process, through our policies on enterprise and foreign direct investment. These policies have enabled us to win many prestigious and value added investments, and have also enabled us to replace lost jobs with others of equal or higher value in the economy.

In the five year period between 2003 and 2007, 3,858 new full time manufacturing jobs were created in Co Kildare by enterprise agency supported firms. In the same period 3,805 manufacturing jobs were lost giving a net increase in the period of 53 new jobs. In the services sector 857 new full time jobs were created by enterprise agency assisted firms in the period while 452 jobs were lost, giving a net increase of 405 new full time jobs in the services sector.

The enterprise development agencies are committed to promoting Kildare as a location for investment as part of an integrated East Region, with access to a population base of 1.5 million people, as well as supporting and developing businesses already present in the county. Through IDA Ireland, Kildare has in recent years attracted some world class manufacturing companies such as Intel, Braun Oral-B and Hewlett Packard. These companies continue to invest in the area, as evidenced by Hewlett-Packard Financial Services' proposed expansion of their EMEA headquarters in Leixlip and Intel's plans to establish the Technology Research for Independent Living (TRIL) Centre in Ireland. Approximately $30 million will be invested in the TRIL Centre over a period of three years and Intel will collaborate with several leading Irish universities, including UCD, TCD and NUI Galway to create one of the largest research efforts of this type in the world. IDA Ireland is also working to attract the International Services, Software, Financial Services and Pharmaceuticals sectors.

Enterprise Ireland activity is focused on the creation of new jobs through supporting entrepreneurs in manufacturing and internationally traded services companies who are setting up new High Potential Start-Up Companies. Since the beginning of 2003, EI has approved over €12m in support to companies in Kildare to help them grow their sales and exports and improve innovation and new product development in order that they can compete on world markets. The consumer foods sector in particular, has shown rapid growth in recent years. Over the last two years we have seen significant investment by Green Isle Foods and Dawn Farm Foods Ltd, both supported by Enterprise Ireland, leading to significant employment increases in both of these state of the art facilities.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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Question 119: To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of jobs in the service sector lost throughout the country to more competitive economies in the past five years; the number of replacement jobs in the same period in the service sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16941/08]

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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Question 120: To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of jobs in the manufacturing sector lost throughout the country to more competitive economies in the past five years; the number of replacement jobs in the same period in the manufacturing sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16942/08]

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Minister, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 119 and 120 together.

There are a variety of differing and complex factors and not just cost related, which might influence a decision to relocate all or part of a firm's functions. Therefore, it is not possible to determine the number of jobs which may have been lost to more competitive economies. In addition to relative wage rates and other cost factors, these may include business takeovers, consolidations and changes in product or market focus. The offshoring of lower value-added functions is, however, part of the reality of the modern global economy for a highly developed economy such as Ireland.

While off-shoring can contribute to job losses for firms in some sectors, productivity gains achieved through off-shoring some activities also represents an opportunity to develop higher-end manufacturing and related activities domestically. Where job losses have occurred, these have for the most part been in low cost manufacturing. Other sectors, especially the services sector, are providing significant new employment opportunities. Since 1997, over half a million new jobs were created in Ireland and the numbers in employment now exceed 2 million.

In the five year period between 2003 and 2007, 74,553 new full-time manufacturing jobs were created in firms supported by the enterprise agencies while 90,162 manufacturing jobs were lost giving a net decrease in manufacturing employment over the period of 15,609. In the services sector 56,583 new full time jobs were created by enterprise agency assisted firms in the same period while 38,751 jobs were lost, giving a net increase of 17,832 new full time jobs in the services sector. Overall between Manufacturing and Services there was a net gain of 2,223 jobs.

Earlier this month I launched the "Report of the High Level Group on Manufacturing", in response to the Towards 2016 agreement to review the challenges facing the manufacturing sector. The Group's report contains some 27 recommendations directed at key areas of innovation and productivity leading to transformational change, reskilling and management development for the innovative firm, increasing awareness and take up of existing supports. Innovation and the productivity gains that flow from it are the new foundations for competitiveness.

In 2007 Forfás established a group to look at the challenges and opportunities faced by the services sector. From the work of this group we intend to prepare and position Irish enterprise to adapt to the globalisation of services with the aim of achieving sustainable and competitive services enterprise in Ireland. A report outlining how to maximise the future returns to Ireland from services activities in all enterprises, both current and potential, is due to be completed shortly.

The Government is fully committed to strengthening the competitiveness and productive capacity of the economy. Our economic policy is designed to be pro-business and pro-competitiveness. Doing this should allow us to maximise our economic potential.

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