Minister Brendan Smith and Minister Sean Connick meet with the new International CEO of Marine Harvest International and the Head of their Irish Operations to discuss plans for expansion of production & employment in Ireland
The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD and Minister of State, Sean Connick TD, met yesterday with the CEO of Marine Harvest, one of the world’s biggest seafood companies, which has extensive investment in the aquaculture industry right along the western seaboard of Ireland, to discuss the potential for significant expansion of the industry in Ireland.
Mr. Alf-Helge Aarskog CEO of the Norwegian based multi - national company and Mr Jan Feenstra CEO of its Irish operations, outlined to the Ministers the challenges, opportunities and potential for finfish production globally. The company’s Irish fish farms, in Donegal, Mayo, Cork and Kerry, have been expanding production and hope to produce between 10 and 12,000 tonnes of salmon for export from Ireland this year. The company has been increasingly moving to the production of premium organic salmon and this year expect that 70% of their Irish production will be sold in prime European markets as organically produced fish.
The company, which currently employs 250 people in Ireland and 5,000 worldwide sees significant potential to double production and employment in Ireland over the next ten years. To achieve this the company sought to explore with Ministers how aquaculture activity can be best expanded and developed sustainably in existing and new offshore locations on the Irish coastline.
Both Ministers emphasised the synergies between the company’s production plans and the broad strategic vision set out in the Government’s ‘Food Harvest 2020’ report. The focus by Marine Harvest Ireland on the sustainable production of salmon for export , mainly through organic methods has very significant benefits for job protection and creation in communities around the coast.
Minister Smith said “Exports are fundamental to Ireland’s economic recovery and role that Marine Harvest and other aquaculture operators can play in further expanding exports of seafood is hugely important.” Minister Smith added that “Our seafood exports increased by 18% in value last year and our Government’s Food Harvest 2020 strategy outlines the enormous export potential in this sector in coming years” .
Minister Sean Connick said that “I have over the last year focussed heavily on the Aquaculture sector as a driver of substantial permanent and sustainable employment in our coastal communities. I can see enormous potential for the expansion of both finfish & shellfish aquaculture. To this end, the expertise of my Department and it’s Agencies is fully focussed on the sustainable development of the industry in line with the overall Government Strategy.”
19 January, 2011
Wexford Fianna Fáil TD and Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Sean Connick is urging local farmers to apply for horticultural grant aid that will be available shortly. “The 2011 Grant Aid Scheme for Development of the Commercial Horticulture Sector is now open. This is the fourth round of this Scheme under the National Development Plan (2007-2013).” “The closing date for applications is Friday the 18th of 2011.” “Only investments commenced after the issue of letters of approval will be eligible for aid.” “The grant aid aims to give practical support to farmers. It is set at 40% for most farmers and 50% for young farmers to encourage them into horticulture. The grant will fund commercial horticulture under taken in 2011 and include protected crops, nursery crops, field vegetables, soft fruit, apples, mushrooms and bee-keeping.” “It is also hoped that the grants will help Wexford farmers to produce high quality products. As the popularity of farmers’ markets increases and people look to shop local I am confident that the demand is there for Wexford fruit and vegetables.”
An Irish-owned medical technology firm is to create 70 jobs in Wexford under a major expansion plan.
ClearStream Technologies in Enniscorthy will create the new jobs over the next three years in product engineering, research and development, manufacturing, and sales and marketing.
The jobs are part of a three-year expansion plan which is supported by the Government through Enterprise Ireland.
ClearStream Technologies, which employs 230 workers, designs and manufactures medical devices such as catheters and stents.
Enterprise Ireland's investment will support a dedicated research and development centre, new product development, production facilities and management development training.
Announcing the jobs today Minister O’Keeffe described the investment as a strategically important boost for Ireland's medical technology sector.
‘ClearStream Technologies is among the firms driving Ireland's reputation as a world-leader in medical technologies.
‘Already, 15 of the world's top 20 medical devices companies are based in Ireland and, as an indigenous firm, ClearStream Technologies is demonstrating an important shift towards higher-end research and development activity in the life science sector.
The 70 high-quality jobs will bring huge economic dividends to Wexford and the broader south-eastern region.
‘ClearStream is a significant Irish firm, not just in terms of the valuable employment it provides in the Wexford area but also as a key player in Ireland's life sciences sector.
‘We look forward to continuing to support this significant contributor to the Ireland's smart economy.’
About ClearStream Technologies
ClearStream Technologies Group plc is an innovative maker of medical devices used in interventional procedures including bare metal and drug eluting stents and balloon catheters. Its products are sold under ClearStream's own brands and they are supplied to Original Equipment Manufacturers. The firm is listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange.
Architectural plans for a new Visitor Centre at the Kennedy Homestead in Dunganstown have been finalised according to local Minister of State Sean Connick TD. Minister Connick added that a planning application for the proposed Visitor Centre will be lodged with Wexford County Council within a matter of weeks.
Speaking after details of the Visitor Centre design were finalised Minister Connick said “The new Kennedy Homestead Visitor Centre will be a very exciting project for Co. Wexford and will greatly enhance the tourism experience in the county. The Department of Finance have been very supportive of this project since first approached about it. This Visitor Centre will be a substantial investment on their part and will be one of the premier visitor attractions in the South East region.
The design of the Visitor Centre has now been finalised and is a very impressive piece of work. The works to be undertaken include a new exhibition building, a new car and bus park, circulation throughout the site, works to the original building and road improvements. The exhibition will depict the origins of the Kennedy family as a whole with a special section being dedicated to the relationship the late Senator Edward Kennedy enjoyed with Ireland.
I am delighted to see this amount of progress happening with the Kennedy Homestead Visitor Centre. I look forward to the commencement of the building project when the planning process has been finalised. I have contacted members of the Kennedy family in the United States to update them on the latest developments and they are keeping a very strong interest in the progress of this new visitor attraction.”
An 8% increase in the value of food and drink exports in the first five months of 2010 and accelerated growth since demonstrates why the food sector is Ireland’s leading indigenous manufacturing industry and generator of net export earnings, said Sean Connick TD, Minister of State for Fisheries and Forestry . This solid performance follows huge efforts by companies and producers to improve competitiveness and to identify market opportunities in a very challenging international trading environment. “What is perhaps most impressive”, said the Minister, is the level of achievement across sectors and markets by companies large and small”. Exports of prepared consumer foods to the UK have recovered, the strategy of targeting premium markets for quality assured meat is working, companies continue to build business in markets for dairy products and ingredients and beverage exports respond to increased demand internationally for premium drinks. Currency pressures also eased during the year.
This performance is a positive step to achieving the ambitious targets in the industry focused Food Harvest 2020 report, which sets out a strategic vision for agri-food, fisheries and forestry framed by smart, green approaches to achieving growth targets:
As over 80% of Irish agri-food production is exported, it is encouraging to know that global demand for food is expected to grow as the world population is expected to reach 8 billion by 2025, diets are changing in economies recording significant growth and there is strong demand in mature economies for premium and functional foods that offer value for money and health properties. Our high quality standards and sustainable production, over a decade of investment in food research and above all the commitment of so many food and drink companies and entrepreneurs to satisfying their customers’ expectations position the agri-food sector for growth in the next decade.
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