TWO FURTHER PROJECTS WITH POTENTIAL FOR 300 NEW JOBS AT ADVANCED STAGE OF NEGOTIATIONS WITH IDA - HARNEY
Mary Harney, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment announced in Letterkenny today (Tuesday 4th May 1999) the creation of 226 new jobs in two new IDA Ireland and six Enterprise Ireland backed projects in the Donegal region.
The Tánaiste said that todays announcement marked the beginning of progress in delivering on the commitment of Government to focus all elements of the State's development agencies on County Donegal and its job creation and development needs. "These IDA and Enterprise Ireland backed projects arise out of intensive promotion activity by the Agencies. IDA Ireland have brought 12 potential overseas investor companies to visit Donegal over the past six months and this is the first breakthrough in their intensive promotion of Donegal, in response to the pending jobs losses at Fruit of the Loom. I am happy that a start has been made on delivering new enterprises into the county, but there is still very significant work to be done to meet the development needs of Donegal and delivering jobs for its people." she said.
In Letterkenny, 150 new jobs will be created by PacifiCare Health Systems Inc, who are establishing a supplemental health care insurance processing centre. Sterling Fluid Systems also in Letterkenny are to create 16 new jobs in a new IT centre. Both projects are supported by IDA Ireland. The Tánaiste said "The decisions by PacifiCare to locate here is especially welcome in that it breaks new ground in bringing quality services employment to Letterkenny from a flagship company in health care services." In Killybegs 47 jobs will be located in Ireland's largest fishing port and 37 of those jobs are directly related to the fish industry. Gundry's Ltd, creating 18 new jobs, manufacture high quality fish nets and exports most of its products. It is now making a significant investment in plant and equipment including 3D computer aided design systems. Sean Ward (Fish Exports) Ltd is investing in processing and cold storage facilities and will create 12 new jobs. Atlantic Marine Supplies Ltd of Killybegs who manufacture, assemble and services life rafts for the marine industry are expanding and will create 7 new jobs. Donegal Carpets Ltd Killybegs, manufacturers of high quality hand knotted rugs and carpets, will create 10 new jobs.
In Lifford, Scafftex Systems Ltd will create 7 new jobs in the manufacture of scaffolding for the construction industry. While in Greencastle, Carrymacarry Networks Ltd will create 6 new jobs in an expansion programme which will allow the company sell synthetic fibres to other companies in Ireland and the UK
The Tánaiste also confirmed that two further projects in the engineering sector, with a potential for another 300 new jobs, were at an advanced stage of negotiation with IDA Ireland. "While there is no guarantee of success I am hopeful that negotiations on these can be concluded successfully in the coming months," she added.
The new PacifiCare facility in Letterkenny will be the company's first processing operation outside the US. PacifiCare also operates a health plan and medical clinics on the Asian Pacific island of Guam. "The Letterkenny operations will enhance our customer service and give us added adaptability to process fluctuating claims volumes to respond to rapidly changing market conditions," said Jeff Folick, President and Chief Operating Office of PacifiCare.
"By reducing some of our costs this way, we can, in turn, take the revenues saved through this operation and make improvements in our operations that will benefit our members, contracting physicians and hospitals. In Ireland we found the right combination of factors that made this agreement possible. Before selecting the new site, we looked at potential sites in five countries and seventeen different communities," he added.
Medical claims made in the US will be scanned into computers there and transferred to Letterkenny to be processed electronically for payment back in the US. "This structure," said the Tánaiste, "will contribute significantly to reducing overhead and operating costs and give the company a larger and stable workforce in the US and Ireland".
Subject to applicable approvals, the company plans to be in operation by this Autumn with IDA recruitment focusing on graduates from the Letterkenny Institute of Technology, people with Leaving Certificate level education and FAS trainees.
Sterling Fluid Systems is a leading global supplier of fluid handling solutions, employing approximately 3,500 people and ranking in the top echelon of pump companies in the world. The new IT centre being established in Letterkenny will create 16 new jobs and further increase the technology base in the area It will provide communication and information technology (IT) support to more than 50 Sterling locations around the world. In particular, the centre will focus on technologies aimed at providing customers with access to the full range of skills, resources and products available from Sterling's global operation.
Sterling were already familiar with the Letterkenny area, having worked successfully with a local software company for a number of years. The main factors, however, that led Sterling to choose Letterkenny as the location for this strategically important new centre were the proximity of the Letterkenny Institute of Technology with its potential pool of skilled people and the emphasis being placed by the Irish Government on the provision of economical and effective global communications. It was these, together with the support from IDA Ireland, that convinced Sterling to invest in the region for the future.
According to the Tánaiste "Killybegs and its surrounds has a long tradition in the fish sector and a number of support companies have emerged over the years directly related to this sector. Given the small scale of our own domestic market the future for companies like these lies in effectively exploiting new export markets. Creating high quality products tailored specifically to these markets is the way forward."
She continued "I am particularly pleased to see the revival of an old industry in the form of Donegal Carpets for the town of Killybegs. Carpet and rug weaving was synonymous with the town from the early 1880's right up until the mid 1980's and the high quality knotted rugs and carpets can be seen in Dublin Castle, Iveagh House and Palaces in the UK. The new company will continue the tradition into the millennium and produce commissioned rugs and carpets for other prestigious locations."
Welcoming the Tánaiste's announcement Mr Séamus Bree, Enterprise Ireland, North West Region said "there is clear evidence that Irish companies continue to make a very significant contribution to the overall growth of the local and national economy. It should be acknowledged that the critical mass of Irish owned companies already in existence in Co Donegal continues to be one of the clear drivers of the future development of the county."
He continued "a key feature of today's announcement is the number of expansions of longer established enterprises who are strengthening their capability through investment in technology, people, product development and market development. Enterprise Ireland will continue to encourage companies such as these to focus on growth through the development of new products and markets."
Last modified: 26/09/2001