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Written Answers - Enterprise Support Services

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 762 No. 1

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 108.  Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith  asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton  the efforts made to date by the State agencies and his Department to protect employment at a plant (details supplied); if he will ensure that all assistance is given to ensure the retention of this employment in this jurisdiction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19663/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton As Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, I fully appreciate the concern felt in regard to the situation at the company in question. I know that last year, some 70 full time jobs were lost at the company due to the loss of a longstanding overseas contract. I understand that due to the company’s reduced level of activity, their current business model is not viable and a decision was made late last year to close the Irish operation.

Since the company’s arrival in Ireland in 2002, Enterprise Ireland has made several contacts with the company in an attempt to establish a relationship and assist in the development of the business. However, the company has not, at any point, made an application for assistance to Enterprise Ireland.

Specifically in 2011, Enterprise Ireland met with the company on five occasions. Three meetings held early in 2011 were initiated by Enterprise Ireland with a view to encouraging the company to draw up a development plan involving new product research, introduction of Lean practices, building management capability, etc. Enterprise Ireland also arranged for An Bord Bia to attend one of those meetings to explore any potential for the company through that agency. However, the company did not progress any of the possibilities discussed at the meeting and a development plan did not materialise.

It goes without saying that Enterprise Ireland is anxious to preserve the maximum number of jobs in Castleblayney. Enterprise Ireland has been provided with a profile of the Castleblayney facilities. It is a high care facility capable of being used in the manufacture of meals, all meat products, fish, sandwiches or salads. The profile of the facility has been circulated to a number of Enterprise Ireland clients who may be interested in expanding their cooking facilities and who have the resources to do so.

Enterprise Ireland’s Food Division is actively following up with these clients and the agency’s Consumer Foods team has also offered to meet with prospective buyers in the UK identified by the company to outline the supports available to the Food Sector in Ireland. A meeting has been scheduled for 25 April between Enterprise Ireland and Castleblayney Enterprise Centre to discuss future possibilities for the site.

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