Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

Údarás na Gaeltachta

Photo of Thomas PringleThomas Pringle (Donegal, Independent)
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1406. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the process followed in the sale of a building (details supplied) which was owned by Údarás na Gaeltachta; the locations the sale was advertised; if the sale price is in line with market value for the area; the number of other sales there have been in the past ten years of land and property owned by Údarás na Gaeltachta in County Donegal; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6183/20]

Photo of Seán KyneSeán Kyne (Galway West, Fine Gael)
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Údarás na Gaeltachta has confirmed that the sale of a 12,000 square metre factory, vacant since 2004, to a long-standing locally owned and managed company, is currently being processed as part of a job creation package that was approved by the board of Údarás na Gaeltachta in September 2019.

As a result of the expansion of this company, An tÚdarás approved the project based on the proposal by the company to add up to 45 additional jobs on the Gaoth Dobhair Business Park. The company itself has now declared their intention to double that figure on foot of new contracts confirmed recently.

The sale is being progressed currently in accordance with the appropriate procedures as laid down for Údarás na Gaeltachta in the disposal of property and lands in its ownership. Údarás na Gaeltachta has confirmed that following full assessment of the expansion proposals from the client company the sale of the property as part of the job creation package was deemed appropriate in order to ensure permanency and investment in this expansion phase.

As per the appropriate procedure, two independent valuations were received in order to ascertain the current market value of the building at the time of the sale. The higher of these valuations was selected and approved by the Board of Údarás as the minimum sale price for the property, subject to the property being used for enterprise and job creation.

As the Deputy is aware, the Donegal Gaeltacht and the Gaoth Dobhair area in particular has experienced significant job losses in the past which resulted in the establishment by Údarás na Gaeltachta of an employment taskforce in the recent past to develop proposals in order to increase employment opportunities in the area.

Notwithstanding the significant efforts of this taskforce and Údarás na Gaeltachta in actively seeking tenants or investors for the building, the former Snáth Comer factory has been empty since 2004 and has not been upgraded in any way during that period. This sale and expansion is a positive development for the Gaoth Dobhair area, which will see cutting edge research, development and innovation, and manufacturing taking place in this factory once again and most importantly, a proposed workforce in excess of 160 people in total.

This development is integral to the future growth of the company in question and facilitates its ability to secure new contracts, expand the workforce and produce new products in Gaoth Dobhair. The building will need to be renovated as well as being extended to allow for the installation of the appropriate machinery as and when required and the company itself will complete those works.

Údarás na Gaeltachta has confirmed that 14 sales of buildings, enterprise units/sub-units, or parcels of land have been completed in the County Donegal Gaeltacht over the last 10 years.

The sale of enterprise property to client companies with an appropriate business model, resources, structure and profile is a long-established successful method by Údarás na Gaeltachta and other development organisations to ensure longevity, sustainability and investment by companies in creating employment in rural Gaeltacht areas.

At a time of global uncertainty, it is encouraging to see companies that are willing to innovate, develop and especially invest in their own local areas and to look to create new employment opportunities.

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