Local Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy noted that an open and frank discussion had taken place between Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O’ Connor and Oireachtas members at a special meeting on Wednesday to address the fallout from the job losses at the ECMI cigar factory in Ballaghaderreen.
The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor met with Oireachtas representatives, relevant State Agencies, Roscommon County Council along with representatives from Ballaghaderreen Chamber of Commerce and Ballaghaderreen Town Team in the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation on Wednesday afternoon.
Deputy Murphy said that while the Minister had engaged in an open and frank discussion there were no magic solutions to address the loss of 38 jobs at the ECMI cigar factory in Ballaghaderreen.
“A number of potential issues were discussed including the potential offered by the €5 million Aurivo’s state-of-the-art biomass facility in Ballaghaderreen which is currently only used for a number of months each year and it could act as a powerful source of heat and energy for other potential investors in the town. I also raised the issue of rates and the revaluation of properties throughout County Roscommon which were placing additional burdens and overheads on business owners in Ballaghaderreen and the ongoing loss of revenue to online shopping.
“One of the other points I raised with the Minister involved the massive tourism potential for the greater Ballaghaderreen area given the close proximity to Knock Airport and the need to create a strong North/ East/ West Roscommon brand,” said Deputy Murphy.
Deputy Murphy also raised the issue of job losses at the ECMI cigar factory in Ballaghaderreen in the Dáil on Tuesday evening under Topical Issues when he highlighted the fact that the Government knew of the impending situation and should have been on the ball in relation to this matter.
“The facts speak for themselves-in 2015 only 180 jobs were created by Enterprise Ireland supported companies in County Roscommon, in 2016 there were only 133 new jobs created by Enterprise Ireland in County Roscommon. IDA jobs created in County Roscommon in 2015 amounted to 108 and to just 34 in 2016.
During the same time periods for 2015 and 2016 in Dublin there were over 19,000 new jobs created by Enterprise Ireland supported companies and over 15,000 new jobs created by IDA supported companies,” said Deputy Murphy.
“Unless this Government gets its act together, rural Ireland will continue on this downward spiral. Communities will decline and our young people will be forced to head to larger towns and cities in search of work. There needs to be a rural strategy put in place to ensure that the infrastructure is in place to attract investment and to encourage local businesses to grow,” concluded Deputy Murphy.