SIR – I READ with delight your article Digital hub ‘should be a blueprint for the rest’ especially as this adds weight to the wisdom of the Local Area Plan to develop technology and tourism in and around Skibbereen.
I note that Ludgate Hub has in two years ‘facilitated the creation of 100 direct and 140 indirect new jobs in West Cork’ and contributes €13m to the local economy. I am enthused that Dublin-based xSellco are recruiting again, having doubled their staffing after locating in Ludgate.
Add this to the success of Spearline, which started out in 2003, with just two local people, and now employs 200 people. It is clear that attracting technology companies creates a massive development opportunity for Skibbereen, an opportunity which includes school leavers, many of whom have the basic skills that these companies can build on.
I note IDA and the government have placed a particular emphasis on growing investment in the regions. This has entailed new regional investment targets and also building clusters of investment in parts of Ireland that help then to sustain and attract more overseas companies from particular industries.
I hope that county planners will note this policy of building clusters from particular industries with proven success in developing an area, and will in future follow the Local Area Plan rather than deviate to the extent of agreeing planning for a petrochemical-based industry, which because of the risks to existing food and tourism industries, and to the environment on which these traditional and important industries depen, has the potential to create a net loss of jobs.
It is clear from the large attendance at the recent two public meetings held by Save Our Skibbereen, who are campaigning against the decision to locate a custom engineered thermoplastic production factory on the Baltimore Rd, that the majority of local people will be celebrating if An Bord Pleanala rule against this ill-conceived planning decision.
It may then be possible to attract greater investment from technology companies and build on the success of Ludgate and Spearline, creating hundreds of jobs rather than a mere handful.