Hi-tech sector boosts economy in Gaeltacht
IT'S not just jobs in fishing and agriculture that people living in some of our most isolated communities enjoy.
Companies involved in hi-tech manufacturing, media services and traditional crafts employ thousands across our Gaeltacht areas.
Figures from Udaras na Gaeltachta show that almost 7,000 are employed across our seven Gaeltacht areas producing medical devices, processing shellfish for export and even, in the case of Cuan Tamhnaigh Teo in Donegal, seat covers and carpets for 150 airlines across the globe.
Goods and services valued at €826m were produced in Donegal, Mayo, Galway, Meath, Kerry, Cork and Waterford last year, up €39m on the previous year.
Some 611 jobs were created in 2013 alone, the bulk of which – 437 – were in Donegal and Galway.
While the number of new jobs created has fallen, from 1,269 in 2008, an Udaras spokeswoman said that most companies have managed to "hold their own" without significant losses.
"Gaeltacht companies have stabilised their employment base, are more competitive and have a stronger export focus," she said.
"We have seen new jobs being created in the medical devices, pharmaceuticals, niche manufacturing, textiles, food and drink and services in the main."
Udaras is tasked with helping to attract foreign companies to the regions, and some employ more than 200.
They include Mylan Inc, the eighth-largest pharmaceutical company in the world and which produces injectable drugs at its Inverin, Co Galway plant, and Errigal Eisc in Donegal, which processes shellfish entirely for export.
Some 300 are also employed across the audio visual sector.
However, challenges remain. Udaras noted that since 2008, its capital budget has been reduced from €25.5m to just €6m.