€15m EU payout for Limerick workers

A €15 MILLION fund to help 2,400 redundant Dell and Banta Turnkey employees get back to work will be announced by the President of the European Commission when he visits Limerick today.

Most of the money — which works out at €5,000 per employee — will be spent on retraining but some will also go to help those who want to start their own businesses. The state is to add another €5m to their training fund.

The money comes from the EU’s globalisation fund which is designed to help those who lose their jobs when their companies move to lower cost countries. Dell moved their Limerick operations to Poland earlier this year.

The newly re-appointed Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso will make the official announcement when he makes a pre-referendum visit to Ireland today when he meets with politicians and local dignitaries.

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment said that up to 2,400 workers in across nine enterprises, including Dell, are to be assisted.

Each worker will be offered supports depending on their needs. These will include occupational guidance, job search assistance, training courses, start your own business and entrepreneurial advice and support.

There will also be advice on fast routes into further and third-level education.

The supports will be provided through statutory agencies and educational institutions such as Fás, Enterprise Ireland, County Enterprise Boards, VEC and local and regional Institutes of Technology as well as University Limerick.

Labour MEP Alan Kelly, who has been working with the redundant Dell employees, said he welcomed the funds and hoped the workers would benefit to the full from the money.

“Many of those who have been made redundant have been out of work for several months and are anxious to get back into productive employment. Many have ideas for new business ventures — others are anxious to avail of retraining. But they all need assistance to do so. This money can have the potential to make a real contribution to rebuilding the economy in the mid-west area,” he said.

However, he questioned whether the Government had done enough to ensure the workers get the maximum help.

“They have not communicated with them in any way on how the fund will be administered for instance,” he said.

He said it is important that the government rapidly outlines the details of how the fund will be administered, exactly the activities that will be covered and what workers will be eligible and suggested the Incubation Centre in the University of Limerick and other colleges in the region should be involved in the process.

The European Globalisation fund has a budget of €500m and was originally intended to benefit workers whose jobs had been lost to non-EU countries.

Earlier this year the rules changed to cover jobs lost to other member states in specific circumstances.


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