Staff boost for agencies tasked with creating 105,000 jobs

THE Enterprise Minister announced extra staff for both the IDA and Enterprise Ireland yesterday to help them achieve their target of creating 105,000 jobs over the next five years.

The IDA issued a statement last night and said it is satisfied that the extra staff, together with an “internal business process transformation initiative” within the IDA, positions it to implement its Horizon 2020 Strategy and achieve the targets set out over the five-year period, 2010-2014.

Minister Batt O’Keeffe confirmed the extra staff after it emerged that IDA chairman Liam O’Mahony wrote a letter to the minister in June warning that chronic under-staffing was threatening his agency’s ability to deliver on its job creation targets.

Mr O’Mahony, who first raised staffing concerns over a year ago, said the reduction in staff as a percentage of the workforce was significantly greater at the IDA than other public bodies.

He said unless the situation could be resolved, Ireland would “almost certainly” lose foreign direct investment.

He said job-creation initiatives in Sligo and Limerick would have to be put on hold and it would be enormously difficult to run overseas offices.

However, speaking in Cork at the announcement of 31 new jobs at a firm which designs aluminium window and door systems, Minister O’Keeffe confirmed both agencies will get extra staff.

He declined to discuss the exact numbers but said it will be more than 50. He also suggested that the staff will be re-deployed from other areas because of the Government ban on public sector recruitment.

“I indicated last Sunday that I would make an announcement this week and we finalised the numbers on Thursday afternoon,” he said.

“I am quite happy that having interacted with the IDA and Enterprise Ireland they will both confirm they are now satisfied that they can meet the targets that they have set themselves. I will continue to monitor their demands over the coming years to ensure they will always have staff to meet their targets. Both units have set very high targets. But even with that letter in June, the IDA is meeting its targets,” he said.

The IDA has been making two announcements every week for the first six months of this year, the minister pointed out. “The 4,000 jobs target for this year will be met by the IDA this year,” he said.

He said he will accompany IDA officials on a mission to Boston and Philadelphia in October to attract more foreign direct investment to Ireland.

“The pipeline is very strong,” he added.

Mr O’Keeffe was speaking at the official opening of an €8 million aluminium extrusion plant, the first of its kind in Ireland, at Architectural and Metal Systems (AMS) in Little Island, Cork, which will create 31 jobs. Recruitment is now under way.

AMS, established in Cork 20 years ago, employs 66 workers making aluminium products, such as curtain walling, window and door systems and related components.

The new extrusion plant will give AMS control of extruded aluminium, its key raw material, helping the firm to boost exports and improve competitiveness.

The plant will also be able to supply other Irish firms which until now have depended on imported extruded aluminium profiles.

Minister O’Keeffe described AMS as an “ambitious export-led Irish firm that put innovation at the heart of its business growth model”.

AMS managing director Chris Martin said: “This investment is the culmination of a long-held ambition of the directors to have all the processes from extrusion to powder-coating and fabrication on the one site. This gives AMS a unique level of flexibility which is unrivalled in Ireland and very rare in Europe or the UK.”


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