SINN Féin TD for Donegal South West Pearse Doherty has described the fact that 67 out of 125 Údarás na Gaeltachta premises in Donegal which are lying empty as a ‘scandal’.
Deputy Doherty said:“54 per cent of all Údarás na Gaeltachta units in the Donegal Gaeltacht are lying empty, that is 67 units in total.
“The highest number of vacant units is in the parish of Gweedore with 26. Cloughaneely is the next highest with 15 and Kilcar/Carrick has ten empty units.
“Having vacant units is not cost neutral – it is a drain on the state as monies will still have to be paid to secure the premises and to cover insurance costs.
“It makes absolutely no sense to have these units lying empty, particularly in West Donegal, which is officially the most deprived area of the state, when they could be used to create employment and attract investment to the region.
“Many of these buildings which range in scale from small to quite large premises are ready and fit for purpose and can meet the needs of future employers in the county.
“These details show the serious lack of focus that this government has on Donegal and the Gaeltacht in addressing the unemployment crisis.
“Údarás na Gaeltachta has shown itself to be a very capable body in creating employment, having created more jobs in this County than both the IDA or Enterprise Ireland for 2012 but it is clear that support and innovation are required at Government level to allow Údarás utilise these buildings effectively.
“Another factor which must be taken into consideration is the fact that Údaras na Gaeltachta is the worst offending agency in terms of upward only rent reviews.
“Despite repeated Government promises to address this issue, which is causing huge barriers to businesses and job creation, to date little progress has been made.
“I am calling yet again on this Government to develop a cohesive, joined up and effective strategy for job creation in Donegal.
“It is a scandal that that these buildings are lying empty gathering dust and costing this state money when there are over 20,000 people on the live register in this county.”