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IDA Chief says Tralee job losses are “a major disappointment”

12 February, 2008

The Chief Executive of IDA Ireland has described the recent reduction of employment by Tillotson in Tralee as "a major disappointment" and that the IDA fully recognises the impact of job losses in Kerry. Barry O'Leary made his comments in a letter to North Kerry Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris. Deputy Ferris wrote to the IDA after learning that the Tillotson factory in Tralee had been put on the market.

According to Mr. O'Leary,

"IDA Ireland is actively promoting Tralee and the greater Kerry region to prospective investors across the full range of IDA targeted sectors, such as International Financial Services, ICT and Globally Traded Businesses via our network of overseas offices and project divisions. Every effort will be made to secure additional knowledge based industry for the area.

"To enhance the offering to overseas companies, IDA Ireland liaises closely with the Institute of Technology Tralee in developing the necessary skill sets for graduates and to foster collaborations between industry and academia…..

"Kerry has many advantages for the promotion of Foreign Direct Investment. There are a number of excellent companies operating in Kerry on a global basis which are ideal references for the county, such as Liebherr Container Cranes, Astellas and Heimbach along with Irish companies such as Fexco and Kerry Group. The development of the Kerry Technology Park to meet the needs of technology enterprises provides a good environment for both academia and knowledge based enterprise. The private investment in office space in Tralee is a welcome development, while ongoing improvements in road infrastructure will improve accessibility.

"However it should be noted that the demands from overseas investors continue to increase and we face a major challenge to provide first class business solutions comparable to other competing cities and regions. IDA Ireland will continue to actively promote Tralee and the Kerry region for Overseas Investment…."

Responding to Mr. O'Leary's comments Deputy Ferris said:

"I welcome that the IDA recognises the impact of job losses in Kerry and that they view the reduction in employment at Tillotson as a major disappointment. I also want to welcome the fact that they have stated that Kerry has many advantages for the promotion of Foreign Direct Investment.

"However, despite all of this and their stated commitment to secure industry for this county, the people of Kerry have little confidence left in the IDA, given their abysmal record in attracting industry over the last 5 years. I do hope that Barry O'Leary, who is new in his position as CEO of the IDA, will do everything he can to ensure that Kerry is not treated as a periphery county as it has been over recent years.

"Because of Kerry's high unemployment rates, particularly in Tralee which has one of the highest levels of unemployment in the country, I am calling on the IDA to embark in a vigorous campaign to promote this county over the next few years." ENDS

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