I've been running behind a bit on the news. I started a new job 2 weeks ago and been a wee bit busy. Looking at all the news articles over the past 2 weeks, I think I'll make this posting about the various job losses and the economy in Donegal.
Redundancies are on the up and up, this was before the latest Budget:
Figures released by the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment show there were 173 redundancies in Donegal in march, 132 of them men.
Meanwhile, employers body IBEC says the Government should reduce social welfare payments by three per cent in next week's emergency budget ... It (the IBEC) wants a short-term emergency support package for enterprise to be prioritised to kick start the economy.
Director General Turlough O'Sullivan is also warning against any further increases in VAT rates or excise duties which he says would be counter-productive in light of the amount of people crossing the border to shop.
And it looks like many of these redundancies, 123 in fact, were at the Largo Foods plant in Gweedore. Amongst their product line is Tayto. Reasons given are that the Donegal Plant isn't automated enough, Irish costs are too high, and sterling is too weak (the UK is one of our biggest trading partners). But, they're going to (at least for now) keep making high-end products in Gweedore:
... Largo Foods has announced that 123 employees at its plant on the Gweedore Industrial Estate in Co Donegal will lose their jobs in the coming months. Largo is the main employer in west Donegal, employing 250 staff. Largo employs a total of 601 people at its plants in Gweedore, and Ashbourne, Co Meath. The 123 jobs will go between now and the end of August.
... Company owner Raymond Coyle said it was facing severe competition from multinationals that do not have Ireland’s high cost base. He also said the weakness of sterling had significantly compounded the difficulties facing domestic exporters.
“It is difficult to export high-volume, low-margin product to the UK from our plant in Gweedore. However, we will continue to manufacture a range of high-value products which we have developed internally and are selling successfully in Ireland and the UK and we intend to build on this in Gweedore,” he said.
And the rate of Donegal companies claming insolvency has increased. 7 companies doesn't sounds bad, unless it your company, plus they don't tell how many people these companies employ (or employed):
In Donegal, the growth rate is 250%, with 7 companies declaring insolvency in the first three months of this year compared to two in the same period last year.
And Highland Radio also noted that the number registering for the dole had increased, and did a comparison versus the same time last year. And mentioning that huge increases in Ballybofey may be due to cross-border dole fraud. But look at the increase in Donegal Town, up 87% since last March!
There were 17,994 signing on at the end of March, 74% up on the March 2008 figure ... the rate of increase has slowed, with the March figure for the county just 2.5% up on the previous month ... the largest increase was in Buncrana, with 4,279 on the register, up 2,056 on the March 2008 figure. This is an increase of 92%.
... the percentage increase in the Ballybofey office was 118%, a trend which has remained since the beginning of the year ... these high increases may be linked to cross border dole fraud ...
All other Donegal offices recorded increases, with 87% more signing on in Donegal Town, 75% in Ballyshannon, 66% in Letterkenny, 64% in Donegal Town, 46% in Killybegs and 38% in Dungloe.
I gotta say, Highland Radio's doing a decent job of reporting Donegal news.
I think after all that lovely news (or those of you without a sense of humour, I'm being sarcastic), I think we need to end on a high note! Here's a pic I took at Mountcharles pier of some couple kissing in the water. It looked like they were doing a photoshoot, she was posing provactivaly in the water and he was laughing and taking loads of pics, and then they had a wee kiss:
Anyways, it was a nice day, I know it doesn't look it, but it warm and dry and with that sky, the light was quiet amazing.