Údarás na Gaeltachta have recorded a prosperous 2015 for business and employment, with more than 200 new jobs created by the authority last year and records catching up with the pre-boom era.
Employment generated by Údarás na Gaeltachta companies made up a total of 533 new full-time jobs nationally in 2015. More than half of the net job increases occurred in companies in the Donegal Gaeltacht – a total of 116 jobs.
There were 2,058 full-time equivalent jobs in Údarás client companies in Donegal at the end of the year, the highest number of jobs since 2009.
Employment was created in companies throughout the Donegal Gaeltacht, such as Arán Ard Teo in Ard an Rátha; Randox Teo and Feamainn Thír Chonaill Teo in An Clochán Liath; R.A. Pacáistí Teo, Fáisc Miotail Teo and Meastóirí Domhanda in the Gaoth Dobhair Business Park; and Cora Tine Teo in An Fál Carrach.
These figures emerged from the 2015 review released by Údarás na Gaeltachta this month. The authority recorded their lowest level of job losses on record in 2015.
The rise of job numbers nationally was the highest increase since 2005. Figures from 2016 could well beat that record.
At year end, total employment in Údarás client companies stood at 7,869, comprising 7,268 full-time and 601 part-time jobs. This strong net job creation performance was achieved as a result of client companies expanding and increasing their employment levels, an increase in the number of start-ups, and fewer job losses throughout the year.
There was a significant drop in the number of jobs lost, a decrease of 50% on the numbers lost in 2014 – resulting in the lowest job attrition rate on record.
Furthermore, an tÚdarás last year approved a number of new projects for the Donegal Gaeltacht in which 449 new jobs will be created with an expected investment of over €37 million when fully operational.
Support for Randox Teo was approved to assist the company in undertaking the major expansion they had planned for An Clochán Liath. Support was also approved for other projects; these include Plaisteach Bhaile na Finne Teo and Bia Beo Natasha Teo.
Seven new businesses in total were established last year and there were close to 20 people already employed in those enterprise by the end of the year, including for example Meastóirí Domhanda Teo in Gaoth Dobhair Business Park and Feamainn Thír Chonaill Teo in An Clochán Liath.
Last March, an tUdaras committed to supporting the creation of 300 new jobs and investing €4.7 million in the Gaoth Dobhair Business Park over a three-year period (2015–2017).
The LEADER programme for Donegal was also announced in 2015, which is expected to get €3 million allocated to the Donegal Gaeltacht and its islands.
The Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs, Joe McHugh T.D. said, “These results published by an tÚdarás today are very positive news. The figures show that an additional 215 people were employed in Gaeltacht companies at the end of 2015 in comparison with the previous year. This growth in employment is seen mostly in companies engaged in exporting, an indication that that Údarás’ strategy of encouraging Gaeltacht companies to focus on exports is succeeding.”
Údarás na Gaeltachta’s Chief Executive, Steve Ó Cúláin, said “An tÚdarás has focussed a lot of its resources on the Donegal Gaeltacht due to the high number of jobs lost in the region in 2014.
“I am satisfied to see our efforts coming to fruition with the growth experienced in the area. These companies now have a stronger foundation and many are undertaking new expansion plans. The investment we have made in our business infrastructure locally is helping to attract new projects, and we have seen an increase in the number of business enquiries. We are also delighted to be in a position to support Randox Teo in undertaking significant development over the next 5 years.”