• Business

Ballingeary digital hub hoping to attract jobs

Friday, 15th February, 2019 10:10pm

Story by Siobhan Cronin
Ballingeary digital hub hoping to attract jobs

Minister of State for the Gaeltacht Seán Kyne with Údarás na Gaeltachta chief executive Mícheál Ó hÉanaigh, announcing the new network of innovation and digital hubs for Gaeltacht areas.

WHILE 45 new jobs were created in the Cork Gaeltacht last year, when the number of job losses is taken into account, there was a net increase of just 15 jobs. 

But a new high-tech hub will open soon in Ballingeary, hoping to attract high-end digital jobs.

Nationally, there was an increase in employment in Gaeltacht companies supported by Údarás na Gaeltachta for six consecutive years, and an increase of 10% in the overall employment figures in that period. 

But in the last number of years, an emphasis was placed on the recovery and stability of the companies. As a result, the rate of employment increased in 14% of Údarás client companies and the employment rate remained stable in 75% of client companies in 2018. 

During the year, 30 new companies were created with 76 people employed in these at the end of the year. These companies were operating in the fields of traditional manufacturing and medical devices, along with the TV sector.    

In the Cork Gaeltacht there were 699 full-time positions in Údarás na Gaeltachta client companies at the end of last year. These are the highest employment figures on record for Údarás na Gaeltachta client companies in the Múscraí Gaeltacht. The previous record number of full-time posts in the area was 690 in 2008.

 A number of projects were approved in 2018 which will see the creation of an additional 28 Cork jobs and an investment of €2m, when those proposed developments are operational. The main developments are projected to take place in the food and engineering sectors. Meanwhile, the first innovation and digital hub of the ‘gteic’ network to be opened in the Cork Gaeltacht will be in Béal Átha an Ghaorthaidh (Ballingeary). 

It is hoped that this new high-speed broadband facility will be opened in the coming months when the final renovation works and kit-out have been completed. 

Customers will be able to avail of Gigabit-enabled high speed broadband in gteic@Béal Átha an Ghaorthaidh, with hot desk spaces and private offices available in the facility.

As reported in recent years the food and drinks sector in the Múscraí Gaeltacht has been very successful in the past few years, with companies such as 9 Fia Bán, Folláin, De Róiste Foods and Táirgí Cáise Buabhall Mhaigh Chromtha winning prestigious national and international awards, as well being available in some of the largest supermarket chains in the country. Folláin Teo has been established in the Múscraí Gaeltacht since 1985 and is producing jams and other products since. 

The company, established by Peadar & Máire Uí Lionaird, has made significant developments and investments in the intervening period and the company is one of the largest employers in the food industry in the Munster Gaeltacht areas. The company is located in a new state-of-the-art building at Baile Bhuirne Business Park since 2016. 

A tourism centre opened on the site in July 2017. The company have now compiled a new development plan and hope to double their sales by 2023 and in doing do to create a further 20 jobs in the company by 2023 also. There were 20 people employed on social employment schemes in the Múscraí Gaeltacht by the end of the year. 

These schemes are being managed and administered by Údarás and are funded by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

Comharchumann Forbartha Mhúscraí Teo was the lead organisation involved in the preparation of the language plan for the Múscraí LPA which was approved during 2018. 

A language planning officer has been recruited and the implementation of the language plan has commenced. An annual budget of €100,000 has been approved for the Múscraí LPA.

 Comharchumann Chléire Teo is the lead organisation undertaking the preparation of a language plan for Cape Clear, and it is hoped that the language plan will be ready for submission to the Department by mid-2019 and being implemented before year end.

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