Double Jobs Blow For Clare – Tanaiste must ensure that County Clare is not further disadvantaged when it comes to attracting new Foreign Direct Investment – BREEN.

March 2nd, 2010 - Pat Breen

With the County suffering a double jobs blow on Friday last, Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. Pat Breen has called on the Government to set up a National Think Tank “where all job creation ideas could be fed to those with real potential and acted upon.”

Deputy Breen has also expressed his concern that County Clare could be omitted as a priority to attract Foreign Direct investment into Ireland which is due to be published on Tuesday next and he has appealed to the Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Mary Coughlan to make sure that County Clare is not disadvantaged further when it comes to attracting new Foreign Direct Investment projects to the Region.

“Friday last was another black day for unemployment in this Country and we were dealt a double blow here in County Clare with news that both Postbank and Hughes and Hughes were closing their doors.”

“The news that Postbank is winding down its operation by the end of the year comes on top of the news two weeks that Halifax is closing its doors and it indicates the very difficult trading conditions which many of our financial institutions are now experiencing. Over 260 jobs overall are at risk. At the same time that Postbank were announcing their wind down the news that Hughes and Hughes Book Shop Chain had gone into receivership came through. They operate an outlet here in Bank Place in Ennis and also operate two outlets at Shannon Airport. In the case of Hughes and Hughes, I hope that the units here in Clare could be given a life line and I hope that there will be taken over by another Bookstore Chain and that some if not of all of the jobs involved here could be saved.”

“Our unemployment rates are now at 12.9%, among the highest in the OECD countries and we have to break this cycle of unemployment. What is needed now is creative and innovative thinking, but more, importantly, it will require the determination of the government to create environment where people who have ideas and create jobs are given the necessary support. They should follow the lead of Dr. McAleese, whose “Your Country, Your Call” is geared to supporting job creation ideas, the Government should set up a national think tank where all job creation ides could be fed to hose with real potential and acted upon.”

“There are over ten thousand people unemployed in this County. Last year there was an 11% drop in the numbers employed in industries in the Shannon Free Zone and many small businesses throughout this County have been forced to close their doors. I would be appalled if a new IDA Strategy proposes to omit County Clare from a list of counties to be prioritised by the IDA in its attempts to attract Foreign Direct Investment. Weekend reports suggest that Sligo, Donegal, Limerick and Waterford counties will be prioritised and if this were to happen then the majority of job announcements will be focused on these counties. Shannon Airport is the key driver for economic development in the entire Region and it would be ironic if the County Clare was to lose out to other Counties in terms of future Foreign Direct investments in this Region and I would appeal to the Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Mary Coughlan to ensure that County Clare is not disadvantaged compared to our neighbouring counties.”