Thursday, 3 June 2021
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
65. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the specific measures that will be taken to support the north-west recover from the job losses due to Covid-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29215/21]
Delivering balanced regional growth is a core objective in the Programme for Government.
Overseen by my Department, nine new Regional Enterprise Plans to 2024, including for the North West, are currently being developed by regional stakeholders which will identify growth opportunities, recognise vulnerabilities, and enable job creation across the regions.
The new North West Plan to 2024 which covers Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim will build on the core activities of the IDA, Enterprise Ireland and the LEOs and the wider range of State Bodies involved in supporting enterprise development in the region. My Departmental colleague, Minister Robert Troy is driving the delivery of the new Plan in the North-West. The new Regional Enterprise Plan to 2024 for the North West is expected to be completed in Quarter 3 this year.
The Government has put several funding streams in place to support regional development. Under my Department’s Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) administered by Enterprise Ireland, the North-West region has secured total funding of over €5.6 million across five projects. The ring-fenced Border Enterprise Development Fund has seen almost €9 million approved for four projects in the North-West for enterprise ecosystem strengthening projects that will assist in mitigating the challenges for businesses in the region in the face of Brexit. These Funds are supporting significant collaborative and innovative regional projects that when complete will provide a timely impetus to job creation in the North West.
Through Enterprise Ireland my Department has introduced new funding to sustain companies, including those in the North-West, and assist them to navigate the economic impact of Covid-19. These include: the Sustaining Enterprise Fund; the Covid-19 Business Planning Grant; the Lean Business Continuity Support; the Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme; and the Covid-19 Enterprise Centres Fund.
In 2020, 235 Enterprise Ireland client companies employing 6,725 people were operating in the North-West region. The North-West Region is serviced by IDA Ireland offices in Sligo and Donegal, dealing with a base of 50 client companies who collectively employ 7,129 people. IDA will target 25 investments for the Border region in the period 2021 to 2024. IDA will deliver advanced building solutions in Letterkenny and Sligo in the same period. The region is well serviced with a range of Business and Technology Parks, with further upgrade works progressing on IDA parks in Donegal and Sligo to ensure that the North West remains an attractive proposition for existing clients and potential new FDI.
This work will be backed up by this week's Economic Recovery Plan and other forthcoming government plans, such as the updated National Development Plan, which will seek to achieve regionally balanced growth.