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Coveney announces 158 new jobs in Irish Seafood Processing Companies

-        Killybegs Jobs Initiative - Minister appoints High Level Group on Job Creation in the Killybegs region -

158 new jobs being created in seafood processing sector

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, today (Friday 3rd June 2011) announced the creation of 158 new jobs in the Seafood Processing Sector. The Processing Scheme provides state investment aimed at generating efficiencies in the processing sector. 18 companies have been approved for grant aid of €1.7 million representing a total investment of €7.4 million in the sector. The jobs will be created over a three year period.

"The projects approved for support create additional income and employment. For example, Fastnet Mussels Ltd in Cork will be investing in new capital equipment in order to produce value added cooked mussel products", Minister Coveney said. "Atlan Fish Ltd in Donegal are developing a value added processing area in order to increase production and broaden their product range, while Rockabill shellfish ltd in Dublin plan to increase production of value added prawn products and improve efficiencies through the installation of energy efficient equipment. In total 158 new jobs will be created around the country and will be a huge boost to local economies, many in rural coastal communities."

The aims of the Processing Scheme are to add value to Irish seafood products, improve efficiency, promote consolidation and create additional income and employment within the sector.

Minister launches new jobs initiative for Killybegs

The Minister also unveiled a pilot jobs initiative for the Killybegs region aimed at creating an additional 250 jobs in the area by 2014. The jobs initiative is a result of an economic study carried out for the EU Commission which assessed the status, development and potential diversification of Killybegs as a fisheries dependent community.

Speaking at today's announcement, Minister Coveney said, "It is clear from this economic report that significant job creation potential exists for fisheries dependent regions like Killybegs, provided there is a focus on the natural resources that are obvious to the region. I am conscious that there needs to be greater integration and 'joined up thinking' from state agencies and stakeholders in the region if this potential is to be achieved.  With that in mind, I’m establishing a focused expert group to identify a direct series of actions that I believe can deliver 250 jobs in the Killybegs region over the next 3 years.

The Minister added; "The focus here is not on increased public expenditure but on leveraging better returns from the talent, resources and infrastructure of the Killybegs area. I am confident that this model of co-ordinated developmentally focused activity which is concentrated on natural resources can be a good model to drive economic development and job creation in the Killybegs region."

Key to the achievement of these new jobs is the seafood industry and the process of adding value to the natural resource on Killybegs doorstep. The Seafood Development Agency, BIM, in co-operation with Donegal County Enterprise Board will soon commence a course on 'Developing a Seafood Business'.  The course will assist existing seafood businesses to become more competitive and efficient, to develop smart business strategies that add value to their activities and innovate on new products and practices.

NOTE TO Editors

SEE ATTACHED LIST OF GRANTS.

This high level group will comprise of Sean O'Donoghue CEO of the Killybegs Fishermen's Organisation who will Chair the Group, Jason Whooley  CEO of BIM, Seamus Neely the Donegal County Manager, Paul Hannigan, the President of Letterkenny Institute of Technology, Conor Fahy of Enterprise Ireland, Niall O Gorman representing  the Donegal Fish Merchants Association, Jim Parkinson representing the offshore energy and ancillary industries and Cecil Beamish from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with BIM providing the secretariat.  This group will complete its work by the end of September 2011 and report to the Minister on their progress and on the identified potential for job creation.

Further possibilities to be explored in the jobs initiative include the development of a seafood innovation hub linked to the BIM Seafood Development Centre in Clonakilty to be located within the Killybegs College of Catering, with a specific focus on pelagic fisheries, salmon and crab.  In addition a Graduate placement programme for Letterkenny Institute of Technology's food technology and food business graduates and BIM's Innovation hub will be developed, offering successful students an opportunity to develop niche skills in the seafood sector.

Seafood Processing Business Investment Programme 2011 Grants (doc 61Kb) 

Date Released: 03 June 2011