Commenting at meeting between Oireachtas Members and civic leaders in Ballaghaderren Fine Gael Senator Maura Hopkins said that there is “no quick fix to the issues Ballaghaderreen is facing”.
Yesterday’s meeting, which was facilitated by Maura Hopkins, included a number of Oireachtas representatives, members from both the Ballaghaderreen Chamber of Commerce and the Ballaghaderreen Town Team and Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD.
At the meeting, Senator Maura Hopkins emphasised to Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor the severe impact that these job losses have on the employees affected and the wider community in Ballaghaderreen. Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor gave her full commitment to supporting Ballaghaderreen and the surrounding region in the aftermath of the ECMI closure, Minister Mitchell O Connor visited Ballaghaderreen last July and has first-hand knowledge of the challenges faced.
Speaking after the meeting, Senator Hopkins said, “The meeting with Minister Mitchell O’Connor was constructive in order to identify the needs of the area and the possible opportunities for development of the region which exist.”
“The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in conjunction with the IDA, Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices to conduct an audit of all potential sites for development in Ballaghaderreen and the North Roscommon region. This will also seek to ascertain the potential for development in order to benefit from the Biomass Boiler located at the Aurivo Co-Operative Ltd plant in Ballaghaderreen. The biomass boiler is an important piece of infrastructure as it is one of Ireland’s largest renewable energy plants.”
Senator Hopkins continued, “Further support for the Local Enterprise Office is much needed in order to assist small businesses in the area to grow and develop”.
“The currently untapped tourism potential for the region was highlighted as an opportunity for the region. There is a need to develop the tourism potential Ballaghaderreen has to offer along with the wider region in order to link up the Wild Atlantic Way and the Ancient East tourism brands which have been very successful to date.”
In relation to the provision of supports for the ECMI workers, Senator Hopkins stated “I met with officials in the Department of Social Protection on Tuesday 2nd May who informed me that full assistance will be given to employees in provision of information of supports available through group and individual sessions. The local Jobs Club and the Galway Roscommon Education Training Board will also be involved to support these individuals in terms of retraining.”
Senator Hopkins concluded, “Further meetings are planned across a number of different departments over the coming weeks in order to prioritise the needs of Ballaghaderreen and the wider region. There will be no quick fix to the issues Ballaghaderreen is facing; however, we must work with community groups, Roscommon County Council and government agencies in order to see greater employment opportunities being created”.