IN 2016, a total of 559 new full-time jobs were created in Údarás na Gaeltachta client companies, with the Galway and Cork gaeltachtaí faring best.
There were 7,963 jobs in Údarás supported companies by year end, 7,348 full-time jobs and 615 part-time jobs. When numbers of full-time jobs losses are taken into consideration, there was a net gain of 80 jobs on the previous year.
Údarás client companies have exceeded a significant economic milestone of over €900m in total sales and have contributed over €420m in direct expenditure to the Irish economy for two consecutive years.
The Galway and Cork Gaeltachtaí saw the highest net jobs growth in 2016. The employment base in Gaeltacht companies has now stabilised and has reached its highest level in seven years.
Gaeltacht companies are growing more competitive and increasingly focusing on export markets. This year’s figures show that the food & drink, services, and medical device sectors reflected the highest net gain in employment levels, although these sectors also suffered some job losses. The traditional manufacturing sector maintained its employment level, although the majority of jobs created in this sector were cancelled out by some significant job losses.
A total of 36 businesses were set up in the Gaeltacht throughout the year and over 100 people were employed in these businesses by year end. Over a quarter of Údarás client companies experienced employment growth during 2016. According to ABSEI research conducted in 2016, profit levels have been increasing steadily since 2008, with an estimated growth of 14.2% in 2015 over the previous year. In addition, during the past year Údarás na Gaeltachta has made a number of strategic investments in new infrastructural facilities which will support existing large employers undertake significant new developments and which will also help attract new projects in the future.
Údarás na Gaeltachta chief executive, Steve Ó Cúláin, said that the efforts of recent years show significant results. ‘We have surpassed our targets for employment creation with over 500 new jobs created in the Gaeltacht annually. Údarás has shown what can be achieved if appropriate employment and rural policies are implemented and supported by the provision of adequate resources,’ he said.
The chief executive said that the growth in client companies’ markets is encouraging. ‘The success of our strategies is reflected in the fact that our client companies are achieving export growth, with nearly 70% of all sales now being exported. It is noteworthy that Údarás client companies spend over €425m directly in the Irish economy,’ he added.