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Ferris calls for University in Tralee

17 June, 2009 - by Martin Ferris TD

Speaking in the Dáil this evening on a private members motion on job creation North Kerry Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris called for the establishment of a University in Tralee which could act as an educational engine to drive the local economy.

Deputy Ferris also called for the fast tracking of much needed local infrastructure works such as the Tralee Ring Road and the New A&E Unit at Kerry General Hospital in order to create construction industry jobs.

Deputy Ferris said, “The unemployment figures here in Kerry are startling. There are currently 15,204 people signing on the Live Register in Kerry. That is almost double the figure for the same time last year. Thousands more are on short time work.

“The Tralee area and its surrounding environs represent almost half of all those signing on in the whole county and it is apparent that this is where the focus needs to be if Kerry’s overall situation is to be improved. Two years ago I and other politicians were describing the unemployment situation in Tralee as dire when the figures reached 3,000. The figure now stands at more than double that with 6,371 on the dole.

“Tralee, the county’s capital, needs a university which will be the educational engine to drive a new local economy. This will put Kerry on the map nationally and internationally as an area that can produce a highly skilled and talented workforce. We need to rethink and adjust Kerry County Council’s construction, service and procurement contracts to create a level pitch for small tradesmen and businesses to tender. Breaking tenders into smaller pieces would allow smaller contractors efficiently tender for work.

“At risk jobs can be saved by establishing a state fund to subsidise viable jobs and by sending in expert groups to assist companies that are in trouble. Major industries such as Amman would be obvious candidates for such help, but equally smaller businesses would also qualify. It is far more financially viable to spend money on retaining jobs than it is to pay people on the dole.

“Investment in major projects with important social gain such as the new A&E unit and a much needed new Maternity Unit at Kerry General Hospital should be followed through. Fast tracking local infrastructural works is crucial to put people back to work and to remove one of the main barriers to inward investment into the county. One such programme would be to ensure the completion of the Tralee Ring Road over the next 3-5 years.

“We need to get away from the politics of unsustainable development; of an economy run for the golden circle rather than those who create it. I believe that the proposals I have outlined, as well as the 80 proposals contained within our Job Creation document, would create hundreds of jobs across Kerry and would ensure sustainable growth into the future.” ENDS

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