Ash fallout hitting half of businesses here
MORE than half of businesses here have suffered as a result of the volcanic ash crisis -- making Ireland one of the hardest-hit countries in the world.
New figures revealed our businesses were third worst affected across the world in the fallout from the Icelandic eruptions.
A global survey revealed that Switzerland suffered most from the distant natural disaster, with 64pc of its businesses affected. Britain ranks second, with 50.3pc of companies reporting financial losses, trading delays and loss of business due to the ash clouds.
So far, Ireland has been third hardest hit, with 50.1pc of companies admitting they could not operate normally due to the chaos that brought flights and trade to a halt.
Countries and continents least affected by the travel disruption caused by the volcano's thick clouds included Italy, the US, south-east Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
Of the Irish companies affected, almost 7pc said the ash had cost them money in lost business, compared with just over 6pc of companies in other countries. Just under 20pc said it had delayed projects or delivery times, compared with 18pc internationally, according to the global job and workforce survey by the Berkley Group.
A further 24pc said they were indirectly affected, but believed they could make up the loss over time, 3pc more than other countries. Some of these employers complained that they had suffered knock-on effects as suppliers were unable to make vital deliveries.
"This information shows us our limitations and how heavily reliant we are on the export market," said managing director of the Berkley Group Fergal Brosnan.
"These findings show how another challenge has presented itself to businesses recovering from the downturn.
"It is interesting that two of the top three countries affected are island nations. Those on the mainland can still distribute goods."
He said Switzerland was probably top of the list because its trade was almost 100pc export-based. The 2010 Global Job and Workforce Market Sentiment Survey for the second quarter of the year also revealed that one in every three Irish employers was hiring again. This was a jump of 10pc from the previous survey when 26pc said that they were recruiting.
Meanwhile, Aer Lingus last night denied the ash cloud was to blame for engine failure which grounded one of its transatlantic flights.
Its Airbus A330-200 had left Orlando International airport en route to Dublin on Thursday night when the crew realised the left engine had failed due to a "massive loss of oil".
The 256 people on board were brought back to Florida where they had to stay for 24 hours.