Fine Gael’s Peter Burke, TD for Longford and Westmeath, this week spoke in the Dáil to highlight the issue of employment in his constituency, and focused on the urgency of training that's needed in order to maximise the employment potential offered by the arrival of Center Parcs.
“While we await the deliberations of An Bord Pleanála on Center Parcs, we know that this €250 million project at Newcastle Wood, Ballymahon is in the pipeline, which will see 750 jobs created in construction and 1,000 permanent jobs when up and running,” he said.
“I am calling on the Minister for Jobs, the Department and local public representatives along with Athlone IT, the Education and Training Boards and the Center Parcs team to work together to design and introduce tailor-made courses to support this project. Skills development courses must start next September; a year later will be too late.”
Deputy Burke spoke at length on jobs initiatives in the area, and under-utilised facilities such as the Mullingar Business Park and the delays in the establishment of an anaerobic digestion plant at the Downs, Mullingar.
He said that 1,594 jobs in IDA and EI companies were lost from 2008 to 2010 in this region, but under Fine Gael, 1,145 have now been won back. He added that he was still concerned that a large cohort of people were still experiencing long-term unemployment and that the State cannot become lax in tackling this.
He concluded:“The Government has a plan in place to increase the progress made, and with greater resources than we had in 2011, we should be in a position to make real progress and reach full employment if given the chance.We deserve the same opportunities as those offered to people living in Dublin and other large urban centres."