Interdepartmental Group on Donegal
Table of contents
Chapter 1 Introduction…………………………………………….. 3
Chapter 2 County Donegal……………………………………….. 5
Chapter 3 County Donegal Socio/Economic Overview……… 7
Chapter 4 Background to the Changing Enterprise Environment in
Chapter 5 Challenges and Opportunities……………………….. 14
Chapter 6 Meeting the Challenges and Opportunities……….. 18
Chapter 7 Addressing Key Infrastructural Requirements…… 44
Chapter 8 Decentralisation………………………………………… 60
Chapter 9 North/South Cooperation……………………………. 61
Interdepartmental Group on County Donegal
Chapter 1 – Introduction
On account of the ongoing employment difficulties in Donegal, such as the
August 2005 announcement by Hospira to close its Donegal town facility with
the loss of 560 jobs, and in the context of the presentation made by the joint
Donegal County Council/Donegal County Development Board deputation on
the 8th February 2005 to eight Government Ministers, the Minister for
Enterprise, Trade and Employment raised this matter at a Government
meeting on 31 August 2005. The Government noted a memorandum for
information submitted by the Minister and, in the context of industrial
development in Donegal, the Government decided that:
“In consultation with Minister for Agriculture and Food,
Ministers to consider what can be done to
expedite/improve issues such as: decentralisation to
Buncrana and Donegal town, roads, broadband, electricity
supply, education. Also, in the context of the Good
Friday Agreement, take up with the British authorities
the possibility of developing complementary initiatives
for the Donegal/Derry region.”
To assist in progressing the above Government decision, an
Interdepartmental Group (IDG) chaired by the Department of Enterprise,
Trade and Employment was established to report to the Minister for
Enterprise, Trade and Employment.
Purpose of the Group
The purpose in establishing the IDG was to make recommendations to the
Minister on an agreed list of projects and actions requiring priority
implementation, so as to assist in increasing the attractiveness of Donegal as
a location for enterprises, both in terms of job creation and job retention. In
the main, the projects and actions concerned will be those where
implementation and funding decisions are required at national rather than at
Terms of Reference
In order to achieve the above objective, the Group focussed on the following:
o identifying the various local issues representing barriers to the
establishment and operation of enterprises
o taking stock of relevant projects and actions already underway or
o identifying measures that could be taken by the relevant Departments
and agencies to support the environment for enterprise development
and to quantify the resources required
Membership of the Interdepartmental Group
The IDG compromises representatives from the following Departments
o Environment, Heritage and Local Government
o Communications, Marine and Natural Resources
o Social and Family Affairs
o Enterprise, Trade and Employment
o Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs
o Education and Science
o Arts, Sport & Tourism
Chapter 2 – County Donegal
The total population of County Donegal in 2002 was 137,575 persons (2002
census). This represented an increase of 5.8% over the period 1996-2002.
However this growth in the population was smaller than the growth in the
Border Counties (6.3%), the BMW region (7.7%) and the State (8.0%). The
main population growth occurred in electoral divisions around Letterkenny and
A more sparsely populated county
The 2002 Census also reveals that County Donegal has a population density
of 74 persons per square mile, which is substantially more sparsely populated
than the Border Counties (90 persons per square mile), BMW Region (81
persons per square mile) or the state (146 persons per square mile).
Higher densities in Urban Areas
The majority of electoral divisions with higher population densities were
located around the main urban areas of Letterkenny, Buncrana, Ballybofey-
Stranorlar, Donegal Town and Killybegs with 100-1000 persons per square
Age Structure of the Population
County Donegal has a higher Percentage of Young and Old People.
County Donegal has a higher percentage of young people aged 0-14 years of
aged (23.4%) than in the Border (22.4%), BMW Region (22.1%) or in the
State (21.1%). In addition, County Donegal also has a higher percentage of
its population aged 75 years and over (5.9%) and over than in the Border
(5.8%), BMW (5.7%) or the State (4.9%).
2.2 Major Towns
The principal town in Donegal is Letterkenny, which has a population of 7,965
showing an increase of 4.7% over the 1996 Census (7,606 persons). (Source
2002 Census). The population including the immediate surroundings area (10
mile radius) rises to approximately 37,000.
Letterkenny/Derry has been designated as a Gateway under the National
Spatial Strategy. Letterkenny has substantial capacity for development and is
situated quite close to Derry which has also been identified as a major
regional city for the North West in the Regional Development Strategy for
Northern Ireland. The National Spatial Strategy sees Letterkenny linking with
Derry to establish the critical mass necessary to drive forward development in
the North Western part of the island.
Ballybofey/Stranorlar – Population 3,603 persons
Buncrana (population 3,420 showing an increase of 3.3% over the 1996 figure
of 3,312 (census 2002) is the principal town of the Inishowen Peninsula,
situated on the east shore of Lough Swilly. It is an important industrial and
commercial centre and provides access through nearby ports and airports.
Carndonagh (population 1,673 Census 2002) is the most northerly town in
Ireland. Geographically it is the centre of the Inishowen area. The town is
also home to one of the largest secondary school in the country, drawing
students from miles around (911 students in 2006).
On the western shores of Lough Foyle are Moville and Greencastle. Both
these towns are renowned as fishing ports on the Peninsula. Population of
both towns is 2,035 (Census 2002).
Donegal Town, Ballyshannon and Bundoran are strategically located in
relation to the towns of Derry and Sligo, the largest centres of population in
the North West. The population of the coastal town of Ballyshannon is 2,232;
and Bundoran 1,678 (Census 2002). Donegal Town, population 2,453
(Census 2002) accommodates a number of overseas-owned companies and
is home to the world-renowned firm, Magee & Co, famous for Donegal Tweed.
The principal sectors have been textiles, clothing, healthcare, engineering and
Killybegs population 1,396 (2002 census) is one of the premier fishing ports in
Ireland. A number of indigenous fish processing companies are located in
and near Killybegs. The State invested €50.0 million in the development of a
new sheltered deep-water facility at Killybegs. The facilities are designed to
cater for vessels up to 300 metres in length, 40,000 tonnes dead weight and a
maximum draft of 12 metres at low water. A launch of the re-branded
Killybegs Harbour Centre was held in June 2005 including a launch of a new
brochure and website.
Chapter 3 - Donegal Socio/Economic Overview
The economy of County Donegal has been driven by the traditional rural
industries of farming and fishing, supplemented by seasonal emigration to the
industrial centres of England and more particularly Glasgow. However due to
a variety of reasons, these are in decline. About 60% of the land is poor
quality upland or mountainous, with only about 40% good quality farmland. In
1991 there were 19,228 farms in County Donegal, but by 2001 this had
decreased by 53% to just over 9,000. Approximately 48% of farms in
Donegal are less than 10 hectares compared with 28% in the rest of the
State. The uneconomical nature of the sector is evident in that at the end of
September 2005 there was 1,174 farmers in the county who were dependent
on income assistance in the form of the means assessed Farm Assist.1 A
study by Donegal County Council showed that in the year 2000 the average
farm income in Donegal was 51% below the average national farm income
The fishing and fish processing sectors have also been in decline due to a
combination of the dwindling supply of fish, the EU quota system and the fact
that the large trawlers do their own processing on board, thereby not requiring
on-shore processing facilities.
Historically the manufacturing economy of County Donegal, in common with
Derry, has concentrated on the textile industry and clothing manufacture.
These are now sunset industries and are re-locating to North Africa and the
Far East. Last year’s announcement by Fruit of the Loom, the last remaining
major employer in the sector, stated that all manufacturing in Donegal and
Derry would cease by mid 2006. This translates as the textile sector having
lost more than 4,000 jobs in Donegal since 1999 or 5% of the total workforce
of the county.
One of the attractions of the sunset industries was that they were labour
intensive and so could absorb large numbers of people who would otherwise
have been unemployed. While they offered steady work and good wages
there was a longer term downside. Many of their employees left school as
soon as they could in order to go to work, and the skills required were specific
to the industry. This has meant that the skills of the workers are now
redundant. A major issue identified by the Donegal Employment Initiative
Task force was the low level of education of workers being made redundant.
There is a high degree of social exclusion and social welfare dependency in
County Donegal. In 2004 the Research and Policy Centre, Donegal County
Council carried out a study of the extent of social exclusion in the county.
Their findings included the following :
Taken from the S3 returns of the Social Welfare offices in Letterkenny, Buncrana, Dunfanaghy,
Dungloe, Ballybofey, Donegal Town, Killybegs and Ballyshannon
• the unemployment rate in Donegal is the highest in the country at
approximately double the national average
• the dependency ratio in Donegal is 56%, 18% above the national
• 39.1% of the unemployed have no formal or primary education, which
is considerably higher than the Border, BMW and the national average
• Donegal has the second highest educational dropout rate in the
country with 74.5% of students completing their Leaving Certificate
Research by DSFA confirms the high dependency within the county on social
transfer payments. As the table shows, there were almost 41,000 people
claiming a social welfare payment for themselves and their families at the end
of June 2004. Using the DSFA estimation2 that the recipient/beneficiary ratio
over the whole range of social welfare payments was 1:1.62. the total number
of people in County Donegal depending in whole or in part on a weekly social
welfare payment is approximately 66,300 people or 48% of the total
population. The recipient numbers for the means assessed GMS medical
card, 65,869 appear to confirm this estimate.
Weekly Social Welfare payments for County Donegal at end-June 2004
Type of payment Number
Old Age payments 10,529 (25.7%)
One Parent family payments 7,581 (18.5%)
Unemployment/Underemployment payments 12,179 (29.8%)
Illness based and Carers payments 9,164 (22.4%)
Progression payments (Back to Work, Back to Education) 1,481 (3.6%)
Total 40,934 (100%)
The numbers appear to be stable, as the comparable figure for end-June
2003 was almost the same at 40,924.
3.2 Unemployment Statistics in County Donegal
According to the census 2002, the unemployment rate for the State as a
whole was 8.8%. However the unemployment rate in Donegal has
DSFS Annual Report 2001 (Appendix iii)
consistently been the highest in the State, and the same 2002 census figure
shows the rate in Donegal as being almost double the national average at
15.6%, with the male unemployment rate being even higher at 17.5%, over
twice the national average and the female rate being 12.6%, almost one and a
half times the national average.
At the end of 2005, Donegal, with 8,637, had the 4th highest Live Register in
the State in actual numbers, after Dublin with 39,933, Cork with 15,533 and
Galway with 8,645. So Donegal with 3.5% of the population of the State had
5.5% of the Live Register. The following table shows the Donegal “live
register” figures compared with the State and the other Western and Border
counties in the period 1994 – 2005
Comparisons of live register figures 1994/2005
County 1994 2000 2003 2005 Change
Cavan 2,829 1,736 2,128 2,211 -21.8%
Donegal 12,569 10,088 10,149 8,637 -31.3%
Galway 15,050 8,011 9,348 8,645 -42.6%
Leitrim 1,837 1,216 1,231 1,109 -39.6%
Louth 10,425 6,075 7,508 6,480 -37.8%
Mayo 9,463 6,140 6,106 5,141 -45.7%
Monagh 3,264 2,482 2,486 2,038 -37.6%
Sligo 3,377 2,372 2,236 1,938 -42.6%
State 280,183 141,586 170,604 155,833 -44.4%
(Source Table F14 CSO)
Nationally only 16% of people remain unemployed for more than 1 year, with
84% securing work within a matter of months. In Donegal 40% of
unemployed people have been without a job for more than 1 year, and 10%
have been unemployed for more than 5 years
The age breakdown of the Live Register3 showed a concentration of younger
people. Almost 60% were under the age of 40, almost 50% were under 35,
and 22% were less than 25 years of age. While the drop off in numbers over
55 years can be attributed to a large degree to people opting to go on a pre
retirement payment, recipients of which are not counted as being available for
work, the large number of younger people who should be at their economic
peak is a major concern
Age analysis of 10,467 cases carried out in July 2004
3.3 Educational disadvantage among the unemployed
Research conducted by the Facilitators of the Social & Family Support
Service (SFSS) showed that there was a consistent pattern of under-
education and lack of skills training among the unemployed.4 The results
show almost 70% were early school leavers with only 13% having progressed
beyond the secondary cycle. This high instance of early school leaving
corresponds with the Task Force’s findings with the redundant workers, 69%
of whom were early school leavers. However while it could be expected that
older claimants would have lower formal educational attainments, 64% of
under 40s had left school early, and 56% of under 25s were early school
leavers. Of these under 25s, over 50% had not obtained a Junior Certificate.
While 1,084 of the interviewees (67%) had left school early and, therefore,
could be expected to have some degree of literacy or numeracy difficulties,
only 158 (10%) admitted to a literacy issue, with the majority of these not
wishing to be referred to the VEC adult literacy service.
Indications are that this preponderance of low educational achievement has a
gender basis, which is mirrored in the population at large. Approximately
73% of males were early school leavers compared with 46% of females,
approx 13% of males had leaving certificate standard compares with 30% of
females, and only 10% of males had attended 3rd level compared with 22% of
Figures from the Donegal VEC indicate that of the “second chance” adult
education Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) participants,
almost 80% are female.
The implications are serious from an economic investment perspective. If the
future of the Donegal economy is in the post-manufacture, technology based
sectors, there must be an available pool of potential employees who possess
the skills necessary for such employment. However the findings of both
SFSS and the Task Force show a major educational and skills deficit among
the unemployed who would be these potential employees. This deficit is
particularly seen among male unemployed.
Based on a sample of 1,616 interviews in County Donegal. Similar interviews in Counties Sligo and
Leitrim produce the same issues. Recent studies by ESRI confirm these findings.
Chapter 4 - Background to the Changing Enterprise
As a developed economy, Ireland should no longer expect to compete on the
basis of cost with low-cost developing economies. There is a requirement to
develop competitive advantage in new knowledge-based sectors that are
backed by innovative management capability and market knowledge. At
national level, Government policy is focused on positioning Ireland as a
competitive global knowledge-based economy.
However, the industrial sector in Donegal and in turn the basic driving force of
the county’s local economic structure, has relied to a large extent on low
value-added activities in traditional sectors such as textiles, agriculture, fishing
and forestry. While these sectors have declined in importance in terms of
employment opportunities, developments in the new knowledge–based
sectors in the county have been lagging. Thankfully, traditional sector job
losses have been compensated for by an increasing number of people
employed in services including the public sector, retail sales and building and
construction. Given the county’s locational factors, Donegal needs to have, as
a minimum, the opportunity to put in place the essential conditions for
economic sustainability (infrastructure, management capability, cost
competitiveness and innovation & entrepreneurship) if it is to compete in a
meaningful way as a magnet for indigenous and foreign investment.
Some of these requirements can be addressed by local agencies and
organisations working collectively in Donegal through their own organisation
and through the Donegal County Development Board. However Government
intervention, in particular through a commitment to fund the necessary
infrastructure and where possible amend current policy restrictions, is
required if the fundamental development needs of the county are to be
4.1.1 The Donegal Employment Initiative Task Force was established in
September 1998 by the then Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment, An
Tánaiste, Ms. Mary Harney, T.D. Included in its terms of reference were three
• To access and recommend the most appropriate responses to offset
and compensate where there’s any immediate risks to jobs in particular
areas of Donegal.
• To draw up a set of priority actions for establishing Donegal as a prime,
competitive and attractive location for job creation.
• To assist the development agencies in selling Donegal locations to
The Employment Initiative Task Force report set a target to create 9,950 jobs
over a seven-year period in internationally traded/import investment sectors,
the indigenous enterprise sector, tourism and the public, community and
voluntary sector. The report also set out the resource and funding
requirements necessary for Donegal over the same seven-year period.
A review was undertaken by the Donegal County Development Board in 2005
of the implementation of the Task Force Report. Among the findings of the
Board was the belief that significant implementation had taken place of those
actions and projects over which the local actors had control and were able to
drive their implementation. While acknowledging substantial progress in the
support of air access to the county and the extension of broadband, the
review found that the area in which the most significant impediments to the
economic development of the county continue to exist is its infrastructure, the
development of which is dependent on Government decisions and various
4.1.2 However, there is also the reality that while the State development
agencies have been successful in attracting new enterprises to Donegal in
recent years, these have been outpaced by job losses in companies in
traditional sectors, which have been large scale employers e.g. textile
companies such as Unifi and Fruit of the Loom. The following tables
demonstrate the extent of job gains and losses.
Employment Growth in Enterprise Ireland-aided companies
County Donegal 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
Number Of Plants 171 182 182 181 188 183 185 183 193
Full Time Jobs 3,572 3,763 3,739 3,551 3,585 3,279 3,148 2,984 3,159
Gains 251 365 412 309 481 200 250 272 396
Losses -285 -174 -436 -497 -447 -506 -381 -436 -221
Net Change -34 191 -24 -188 34 -306 -131 -164 175
Contract/Part Time Jobs 778 722 668 681 737 722 705 723 585
(Source Forfás Employment Survey 2005 – March 2006 Unpublished)
Employment developments in IDA companies:
Year Losses Gains Permanent No. of
2005 357 252 2101 13
2004 217 136 2206 13
2003 494 141 2287 13
2002 113 179 2640 13
2001 518 353 2574 12
2000 341 308 2739 13
1999 1133 67 2772 11
1998 350 54 3838 10
1997 145 80 4134 10
1996 427 129 4119 10
Source: Forfas Annual Employment Survey
Údarás na Gaeltachta area job gains/losses 1995 - 2005
1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
Increase 472 304 306 486 296 250 362 287 370 528 29
Decrease 246 226 228 413 348 245 387 639 651 390 292
Net Gain +226 +78 +78 +73 -52 +5 -25 -352 -281 +138 -2
Source: Údarás na Gaeltachta Annual Reports
Chapter 5 - Challenges and Opportunities
In considering the overall objective to improve the environment for job
creation, with the assistance of the state development agencies the Inter
Departmental Group has identified certain region specific challenges facing
Donegal along the following lines:
• The primary challenge for IDA Ireland is to win more knowledge-based
greenfield Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) for the County and to
assist existing IDA clients to transform their current operations to
higher value activities, recognising that the area has been and remains
overly dependant on low value manufacturing.
• Enterprise Ireland has circa 190 clients in Donegal employing some
3,000 full time people & about 750 part time & contract workers. The
profile of its client base is one of companies lacking in scale and with
low propensity to export. The fundamental issues are a lack of
innovative, technology-led companies, as well as a low level of start-up
• The relative isolation of Donegal from other parts of the Republic due
to its position in the extreme north west of the country and the vast
majority of its border facing three of the 6 Counties with whom trade
has been relatively insignificant in the past.
• The critical need to enhance longstanding infrastructural deficiencies of
the county, which are restricting both indigenous economic
development and the ability to attract foreign investment to Co
• The strength of development in the Letterkenny area is not reflective of
the development of the county as a whole. There is vastly uneven
development throughout the county.
• The need to maximise social and economic inclusion by growing
mutually advantageous and practical cross border co-operation to
compensate for the short-term nature of Peace and Border funding.
• The need to convince the young population and unemployed of the
county of the importance of taking maximum advantage of the
educational and upskilling opportunities available to them through the
education and FAS systems as well as the support mechanisms
provided through the Department of Social and Family Affairs.
• The need to encourage a greater spirit of entrepreneurship among
school leavers and mature workers availing of redundancy packages
as well as the need to motivate the local business community in
Donegal to play a greater part in the business development of their
• Tourism in Co. Donegal faces a number of significant challenges – of
which access (both internal and external) is key - particularly given
growing consumer trend towards more frequent but shorter holiday
breaks which favour easily accessible centres. The other key challenge
is to ensure the quality of the product offering meets the needs of an
increasingly sophisticated domestic and overseas consumer.
• In the case of the Donegal Gaeltacht, the mandate of an tÚdarás is to
ensure that the population of the Donegal Gaeltacht is maintained so
that the Irish language can continue to be used by the people of the
Gaeltacht as their normal community language. To achieve this
objective an tÚdarás seeks to promote employment opportunities
through the provision of assistance to entrepreneurs willing to operate
in the Gaeltacht. At the end of 2,005 there were 2,343 persons in full-
time employment, mainly small-scale industries, in the Donegal
Gaeltacht which received assistance from Údarás. The principal
requirements for successful economic development of this Gaeltacht
area include provision of an adequate power supply (110kv),
competitive broadband, completion of the N56 upgrade and in
particular the link to Carrickfinn Airport, continued upgrade of local
roads and development of tourist products.
County Donegal has access to a wide range of opportunities and advantages,
many of which may not be available to other regions within the State or which
may not yet have been exploited to the best advantage of the county. It is
also important to note that many of the challenges facing the county outlined
in 5.1 are capable of being transformed into opportunities provided that the
appropriate remedial measures can be put in place. Among the opportunities
and advantages identified by the IDG are the following:
• Donegal has a substantial labour force available to prospective
employers wishing to set up or expand their operations in the county.
Many of those available for work have previous work experience and
are well positioned to avail of training and upskilling opportunities either
with a new employer or through FAS. Manufacturing companies that
thrived in Co Donegal in the past did so because of the dedication,
commitment and hard work of their employees, many of who are now
available to meet new employment opportunities.
• The National Spatial Strategy twinned Gateway of Letterkenny and
Derry City, creating a combined urban population of 125,000 – the
fourth largest conurbation on the island of Ireland. Through integrated
planning and with well-structured investment in physical and social
infrastructure this area has the potential to perform a greater role as
the economic driver for the wider North West Region.
• Donegal’s 3 northern border counties of Derry, Fermanagh and Tyrone
(and indeed the remaining 3 northern counties) are a relatively
untapped source of trade, economic co-operation and development for
Co Donegal. The proximity of this market can facilitate Donegal
business people in becoming more conscious of cross-border trade
opportunities, more innovative and niche market focussed.
• Visitors from Northern Ireland come to Donegal in large numbers each
year for recreational and, more recently, for business related purposes.
This represents a major marketing opportunity for Donegal.
• The Virtual Cross Border Technology Park (VCBTP) initiative currently
being implemented by IDA Ireland in partnership with Invest Northern
Ireland is attempting to harness the synergetic effects of linking the
Letterkenny and Derry. This will provide an opportunity to market, as
one, their respective populations, graduate pools, educational and
research institutions, business clusters and their combined property
solutions. It will also contribute to a high specification
telecommunications network bridging the locations to allow them
compete as one homogenous centre for inward investment.
• There is a dynamic combination of State Development Agencies active
in Co Donegal who are committed to enhancing the attractiveness of
the county for manufacturing/technology/knowledge based business.
These agencies have demonstrated the ability to provide a clear vision
and focus for the future economic development of the county.
• Significant educational, training and retraining institutions and facilities,
up to and including third level, available within the county and in
• The establishment of strategic sector clusters and networks within
Donegal businesses to increase opportunities for job and wealth
creation within existing businesses.
• In tourism, significant opportunities exist to exploit the growing number
of air routes to the West and North West. Donegal's rugged countryside
and coastline offer a good fit for the type of tourist being targeted in
Tourism Ireland's overseas destination campaign. In terms of niche
offerings, there is good potential in marine related tourism and quality
walking and cycling products. Donegal is also well positioned to grow
its share of the buoyant domestic tourism market. Proposed
infrastructural developments for Donegal and the North West in general
- particularly road and air access – which will ease access to and within
the region will be of significant benefit to the tourism industry in
• The newly developed and re-branded Killybegs Harbour Centre can
provide opportunities for commercial activity over and beyond its
traditional fishing role. The harbour provides the newest, sheltered,
deep-water facility on the west coast. The newly developed harbour
was opened for business in May 2004 and plans were unveiled to
develop the port as a general cargo facility operating in harmony with
existing fishing activities. The port is also attracting cruise business
with 5 such visits recorded in 2005. The port is also now opening up
opportunities for new fish-related businesses based not only on fish
caught by the Irish Fleet but also on fish caught by other Member
States and Norwegian fleets fishing off the North West at particular
times of the year.
Chapter 6 - Meeting the Challenges and Opportunities
6.1 State Development Agencies/Government Departments -
Current Strategies and Actions
In addressing the challenges and opportunities identified above, the State
development agencies along with Government Departments and Donegal
County Council have a wide array of supports and measures to implement
their respective strategies for Donegal. An outline of these, as contained in
the following paragraphs, demonstrates the priority being given and efforts
being made to advance the employment situation in Donegal. In addition, the
IDG identified specific infrastructural deficits, which would require to be
progressed to support the successful implementation of these strategies.
These are dealt with in Chapter 7.
6.2.1 IDA IRELAND
IDA Ireland’s focus in the North West is on the development of a number of
sectors including International Financial Services and Medical Technology.
These have the potential to provide a more balanced economic base in the
Region and to offer a broader range of job opportunities. To support this
strategy IDA Ireland has been working with a broad range of bodies and
Institutions in both the North West Region and Northern Ireland to create
“Magnets of Attraction” in these sectors. The marketing effort has also had a
particular Location Focus
6.2.2 Magnets of Attraction
IDA Ireland has been working with a broad range of bodies and institutions in
both the Northwest Region and in Northern Ireland, to create ‘magnets of
attraction’ in the Financial Services and Medical Technology sectors at the
gateway locations of Sligo and Letterkenny to support the delivery of
investment to the Region.
A number of initiatives are being developed on the provision of skills at both
Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT) and IT Sligo that will help to
establish a cluster of financial services companies in the Northwest Region
and to develop the region as a credible financial services location.
IDA Ireland has initiated meetings with a wide range of personnel from
colleges, research institutes, hospitals and organisations on both sides of the
Border in this area to assess the potential for establishing linked centres of
research in medical technologies in counties Sligo, Donegal and Derry
A detailed audit of the existing business, education & research facilities in the
wider North West Region is being carried out to identify specific niches within
the medical technology sector. Within these niche areas, specific solutions to
global needs could be built on the combined strengths of the existing colleges,
institutes, research centres and hospitals in Sligo, Letterkenny and Derry.
6.2.3 Location Focus
The IDA Ireland locational focus in County Donegal, is primarily on the
gateway town of Letterkenny. There is also a focus on the towns of
Buncrana, Donegal, and Ballyshannon. To support its strategy, a number of
property led developments are underway or planned which include:
• The completion of the new IDA Ireland Business and Technology Park
(Lisnennan 2) in Q3, 2006.
• A new 25,000 sq ft. advance office building beside Pramerica due for
completion in August 2006 on the Letterkenny Business & Technology
• Provision of a new 20,000 sq. ft advance office building and two new 5,000
sq. ft. small technology units on Letterkenny Business and Technology
Park (Lisnennan 1) by Q4, 2006.
• The procurement of planning permission for three new 25,000 sq ft.
advance technology buildings on Letterkenny Business and Technology
• The upgrading of the IDA Ireland Business Park (completed) where
planning permission is in place for a 28,000sq. Ft. advance technology
• The fit out of a 7,500sq. Ft. Advance Office Building currently occupied by
AssetCo and announced by Minister Martin on 9th March with the creation
of 130 new jobs.
• The marketing of the 25,000 sq ft ‘Clubman’ premises for suitable projects.
• The appointment of consultants to plan the upgrading of the Business Park
and to seek planning permission for a new 10,000 sq ft. office building.
• The marketing of the Hospira premises coupled with its skilled workforce
for Medical Technology operations.
• The upgrading of the IDA Ireland Business Park (completed) and the
upgrading of the three 5,000 sq. ft small technology units on the Park.
6.3.1 Enterprise Ireland
Enterprise Ireland strategy for Donegal is twofold:
(i) To strengthen and enhance the competitive capability of its
existing client companies and,
(ii) To increase the number of high potential start up companies
in the county.
6.3.2 Existing Clients
In order to sustain and grow the capability of its existing indigenous base EI
are investing in their client companies. Its focus is on enhancing their
innovative capability through productivity improvements and R&D activity, and
increasing export sales through its network of 33 overseas offices. (See
6.3.3 Entrepreneurship and Start Up Activity
Enterprise Ireland provides a range of supports – both financial & non
financial – to encourage start ups in Donegal. Since September 2005 Minister
Martin has announced two important new EI supported start ups in Donegal.
• Powerboard in Burnfoot - designs, develops and manufactures
electrical enclosures and switch gear for export to European markets –
to create 65 new jobs over three years (Announcement-September
• Assetco in Buncrana - establishment of a new enterprise managed
service centre to facilitate improved productivity, efficiency and
information flow for its mission critical clients - €5m investment creating
130 new jobs. By June ’06 Assetco had commenced operations in
Buncrana with 61 people recruited. Recruitment continues.
(Announcement - March 2006)
Besides its direct financial support for high potential start ups, EI actively
prospect for and encourage potential entrepreneurs. It holds promotional
events and has programmes to support individuals interested in starting a new
business e.g. Enterprise Start Programme and Enterprise Platform
Programme. In addition, EI have invested in infrastructural supports for
entrepreneurs and in the innovative capacity of the County. (See Appendix 2)
6.3.4. Community Enterprise Centres
Enterprise Ireland has also been very active in supporting the development of
community enterprise centres in County Donegal, which are critical to
continued enterprise development in rural areas and to the development of an
entrepreneurial culture. Nine Community Enterprise Centres in County
Donegal have received funding of approx. €2m under the Community
Enterprise Centre Scheme.
In June 2006, financial support of €650,000 for two further centres, Donegal
town and Carndonagh, was announced.
6.3.5. Short to Medium term plans
Enterprise Ireland’s focus in Donegal over the next two years will be fourfold:
Work with existing client companies to drive:-
• competitiveness and productivity improvement in companies located in
Donegal. EI will strongly promote and support the national €20m
Productivity Improvement Fund and the new TechSearch service with a
view to maximising the uptake in Donegal.
• innovation – promotion/awareness initiatives, events and foster
Industry – 3rd Level linkages (Innovation Partnership Programme in
association with IOTs).
• export sales development - participation at international sales
exhibitions, trade missions, support for individual companies to win
new export orders and to encourage and facilitate Donegal based
companies to export for the first time.
• the development of management capability - especially with sales and
marketing skills required to compete internationally and access to
personal Mentors in Ireland and overseas.
Drive the creation of innovation based start-ups:-
A. Support the environment for the generation of new innovation
i. financially support the development of innovation based ideas
among researchers in 3rd level in the North West through the
ii. following recent approval by Enterprise Ireland of over €6m
support for incubation and research centres in the North West to
work closely with the colleges to embed these investments for the
benefit of the region;
• EI investment of €0.75m to develop a Centre of Excellence
in Marine Biotechnology at LYIT – Centre manager
appointed December 2005
• EI investment of €0.75m to develop a Centre of Excellence
in Design at IT Sligo – Centre Manager commenced
• EI investment of €2.54m to expand and develop the
Business Incubation and Research Centre at LYIT –
construction to commence in the 2nd half of 2006
• EI investment of €2.54m to develop a Business Incubation
and Research Centre at IT Sligo – construction to be
complete by end 1st half of 2006
• Financially support appointment of Centre Managers at
LYIT & IT Sligo to support & nurture campus based start
B. Help turn Innovative business ideas into commercial reality:
• Undertake prospecting initiatives aimed at stimulating a
pipeline of entrepreneurs with ideas that can be
• provide funding that is positively biased towards start-up
companies in the regions
• continue availability of a range of Venture Capital funds
financially supported by EI (€90m) which can provide seed
& venture funding to innovative companies with export
• support the creation of a network of Business Angels in the
BMW region incl. Donegal.
• continue to financially & non financially support potential
entrepreneurs to incubate their business ideas (normally
over a period of a year) through an Enterprise Platform
Programme in partnership with LYIT & IT Sligo. In 2006
consideration will be given to extending this programme on
a cross border basis.
• build skills & management capability of early stage high
potential start-ups to ensure continued growth
Work closely with Letterkenny and Sligo Institutes of Technology to
enhance their economic impact in the Region:-
In addition to completing the existing innovation and incubation investment
programme at LYIT and IT Sligo, Enterprise Ireland will continue to build
upon its excellent relationships with the colleges in order to support:
• the identification of new research projects relevant to the region
• further linkages with industry – in terms of knowledge, technology and
• the promotion of a much greater Entrepreneurial culture across the
• the promotion of Science
Facilitate entrepreneurial development and the development of the
enterprise environment in urban and rural communities across the
Enterprise Ireland has been very active in supporting the development of
community enterprise centres, which are a critical support to the
development of an entrepreneurial culture, particularly in rural areas. Since
1989 to date Enterprise Ireland has approved support of almost €40m for
some 155 CEC projects nationally. Enterprise Ireland has approved over
€34m for some 137 CEC projects nationally to date. A total of almost €2m
has been approved to date under the scheme for County Donegal. Six
Community Enterprise Centres have been built to date in Ballyshannon
(including the 10,000sq ft Ballyshannon IT Centre that was officially
opened by Minister Dempsey and Minister Coughlan in December 2005),
Convoy, Letterkenny, Lifford, Moville and Taughboyne. These centres
have approximately 40 tenants employing in excess of 270 employees. A
further centre is currently under construction in Glenties. In January 2006
Minister Martin announced the extension of the Enterprise Ireland
Community Enterprise Centre Scheme which will provide €7 million of
Capital funding in the period 2006 –2008. In June 2006 it was announced
that under this competitive scheme Donegal Town Community Chamber
and Carndonagh Commuity and Rural Development were successful in
their application for funding and received approval of €350,000 and
€300,000 respectively towards the development of new Community
Wider entrepreneurial objectives for Donegal will be to:
• actively work with local communities in Donegal interested in
establishing an enterprise centre in their area
• work with local communities in Donegal who have already been
supported by Enterprise Ireland to build an enterprise centre, to
• enhance enterprise development in their communities
• work in partnership with other organisations in Donegal to
facilitate and nurture the development of the enterprise environment
in the county. This includes building upon an Entrepreneurship
Forum established among development agencies in 2005 to create
and drive an entrepreneurial programme across the wider North
6.4.1 Donegal County Enterprise Board (CEB)
SHORT TO MEDIUM TERM PLANS AND ACTIONS
Over the coming three years, Donegal County Enterprise Board will continue
its active engagement in the economic development of County Donegal and
the furtherance of small and micro enterprise development (which accounts
for some 98% of the businesses in the county) by engaging in a number of
strategic initiatives as well as a range of enterprise supports and small
business development activities. These will include the following:
6.4.2 Strategic Initiatives.
• Donegal CEB will carry out a review of its plan for the period 2006-
2010 with the vision of making Donegal a more highly attractive
location for business development. This plan will also integrate and
seek to respond to the findings of a recent survey of the needs of small
and micro enterprises in the county on behalf of Donegal CEB.
• The Board will pursue its strategic alliance with the Centre for
Research and Innovation at Brighton University to identify best practice
in the area of innovation management in small and micro enterprises.
Currently this alliance has gone through the first two stages of approval
at Brighton University. The initial alliance is for a three year period.
• The Board will continue to engage in a range of strategic cross border
projects and structures with partners in particular in the County and
City of Derry, especially under Interreg. – most recently the Board, in
conjunction with Donegal County Council, Derry City Council and North
West Marketing received written confirmation that their project to
promote entrepreneurship in the Donegal/Derry region had been
approved. This is a €1.02 million project
• The Board will continue to lead on economic development issues
through it’s involvement in the Donegal County Development Board
and in particular through it’s co-chairing of the economic development
forum within the Board.
6.4.3 Ongoing Actions and Activities
During 2005 Donegal County Enterprise Board carried out various
activities in support of small and micro enterprises as well as a range of
activities to promote entrepreneurship in the county and develop the
capability of owner managers and their staff. (See Appendix 3)
It is envisaged that the Board will apply future resources and its executive
time and commitment to a range of activities as follows.
a. Enterprise Promotion – the Board will continue to promote
entrepreneurship and enterprise culture through the
implementation of a schools enterprise programme, through the
organising of the Enterprising Donegal Week in March 2006 and
organising the Donegal Business of the Year Competition.- In
March 2006 the Board organised Enterprising Donegal Week
which had 19 events over 6 days and to which over 1,000
businesses and individuals attended.
b. The Business Information Service – the Board will seek to
maintain and further develop the Business Information Service
piloted over the past 30 months with additional funding from
Area Development Management/Combat Poverty Agency
(ADM/CPA) under the Peace II Programme. – Through
additional funding received from the Department as a result of
the Interdepartmental Initiative, the Board has recently recruited
an Executive to deliver this service and the Lets Do Business
Schools programme over the next two years.
c. Training programmes – the Board plans to design and deliver up
to ten training programmes to support new business start ups
and to increase the internal capability of owner managers and
their staff over the next three years. - 4 programmes already
delivered or being delivered in 2006.
d. Management Development Programmes – in addition to the
functional training programmes, the Board plans continue to
provide 4-5 management development programmes to owners
of micro enterprises and small businesses and their front line
staff in Donegal. – 3 management development programmes
are currently being delivered.
e. The Board plans to run a number of workshops and seminars in
relation to business topics that will address particular business
needs identified on an ongoing basis.
f. Provision of Direct Grant Assistance – The CEB will continue to
provide grant aid to eligible projects in Donegal particularly
towards new projects in either knowledge based or technology
based projects, with a target of an ongoing stream of 25-30
projects being approved per annum. – 17 projects approved to
date in 2006 (As of mid July).
g. The Seed Capital Fund will provide funds up to €40,000 towards
knowledge based and technology based start ups to help them
in developing their business proposal, carrying out final
prototype development and proof of concept.
h. Mentoring – of significant importance to business development
is One- to- One business mentoring provided by the Board -
either by its staff or by trained and experienced mentors. The
Board will continue to provide this service to clients in the county
and will also seek to apply resources such as the Tradelinks
Programme and other potential cross border programmes to
there clients, in particular by way of mentoring. .- CEO is
currently involved in the development of a second Tradelinks
programme with NI partners, Enterprise Northern Ireland.
i. Sector Initiatives – Donegal CEB will continue its involvement in
the 315 Food Programme, currently funded under the EU Peace
II Programme, involving support for micro food companies in
Donegal, Cavan, Sligo and Leitrim. – The Board continues to
lead out on the 315 Foods Initiative with a planned one week
food marketing training programme for Autumn 2006 at St
Josephs University, Philadelphia. This is subject to funding
approval form EI. The Board has also secured over €300,000 in
funding under the ACCEL initiative to deliver a design initiative
in Donegal for small and micro businesses.
j. Databases and Networks - Donegal CEB has developed
websites both in relation to the Board itself and also in relation to
the In Donegal website which seeks to promote Donegal
Businesses on the Internet and provide businesses in the county
with a Web presence. The Board also established the Donegal
Business Network in 2005 as well as the Donegal Women in
Business Network. These initiatives will continue to be
supported for the foreseeable future
6.5.1 Failte Ireland and Tourism Ireland
Developing skills and enterprise capability
Providing skills training and building enterprise capability remain a key
strategic priority for Failte Ireland in supporting the further development of
Donegal tourism. The following brief points provide some indication of the
nature of these supports.
• In 2004, Failte Ireland operated a Temporary Training Centre at the
Keys Hotel in Stranorlar. Some 30 skills trainees graduated from this
programme with a FETAC accredited award.
• Failte Ireland makes a significant recurrent contribution to the Tourism
College Killybegs through the funding of tuition, capitation, and
maintenance grants in respect of third level students attending both
further and higher education programmes in tourism and hospitality. In
2005/06, Failte Ireland is supporting a total of 200 tourism and
hospitality students at the College.
• In 2005, Failte Ireland delivered skills based Return to Work (RTW)
courses at four locations in the county – Buncrana (Jan/Apr 2005),
Ballyliffen (Feb/Apr 2005), Downings (Jan/Mar 2005), and Donegal
(Oct/Dec 2005). A further four RTW courses are scheduled to be run in
the county in 2006.
Optimising access developments
• Tourism Ireland and Failte Ireland have been actively pursuing access
developments to the region and provide cooperative marketing
platforms aimed at optimising tourism benefits from new air routes or
increased capacity on existing routes to the region.
• Failte Ireland sits on the North West Air Access Consortium with Derry
City Council & City Of Derry Airport. This consortium has recognised
the importance of access to the region and is currently awaiting the
outcome of an EU proposal for funding in excess of €1.25m.
Regional Marketing Support
• Failte Ireland's marketing allocation to the North West Regional
Tourism Authority in 2005 was in excess of €380,000. In addition to
the actions listed below.
• Tourism Ireland and Failte Ireland part-funded the strategic marketing
alliance between North West Tourism, Shannon Development &
Ireland West - Ireland's Western Region.
• Failte Ireland continued to support various other regional projects -
such as North West Passage, North West Linear Park & the Green
• Failte Ireland funded the position of Donegal Tourism Officer while also
supporting a joint marketing initiative with Donegal Tourism - providing
in excess of €100,000 for an advertising & marketing campaign.
• Failte Ireland also managed a specific tourism marketing initiative for
Inishowen working with the Leader Co., Inishowen Tourism and
industry. This was very successful with a 15% increase in bookings
against 2004 figures.
• Tourism Ireland and Failte Ireland are providing significant funding for 2
key cross border projects - Destination North West & Glens &
Lakelands over the three year period – which are aimed at attracting
domestic and overseas visitors to the region. These campaigns are
being delivered in the overseas markets by Tourism Ireland market
teams leveraging all their expertise and local knowledge to ensure
most consistent messages and best return on spend.
• Tourism Ireland has and continues to support a stronger regional focus
in its overseas marketing activities.
• Both agencies very actively encourage media and trade visits to the
North West region (250 media visits and 138 trade contact visited in
2005) designed to familiarise travel journalists and tour operators /
travel agents with the product offering.
6.5.2 Short to Medium term plans
In 2006, both Tourism Ireland and Failte Ireland’s programmes will continue to
reflect a mix of inputs including (a) Education and training supports, (b)
Enterprise and business capability supports, and (c) Marketing supports. In
terms of developing these supports further, and in relation to identifying
possible additional activity that would support the strategic development of
tourism in the county, a close dialogue will be maintained with key local
stakeholders – principally Donegal County Council and the North West
Regional Tourism Board. Specific actions will include:
• Failte Ireland will spend €0.8 million in 2006 supporting and funding
some 400 Further & Higher education students at the Tourism College
Killybegs. This is expected to continue into the medium term (i.e.. next
• In January 2006, Failte Ireland launched a country-wide initative to
support tourism SMEs and micro-enterprises. This is a County Based
Learning Network initiative and is designed to support
Owner/Managers of tourism SMEs. It is expected that this will involve
some 25 Owner/Managers in a Donegal network in 2006, and a further
25 managers in each of 2007 and 2008 i.e. some 75 small business
participants in total.
• The inaugural Failte Ireland Research Fellow award was made in late
2005 to a senior academic from the Tourism College Killybegs. This
award frees up the recipient for a calendar year (2006) and in this
instance will support research on the role of ICT as a key enabler of
small tourism businesses in Donegal.
• Failte Ireland will be operating temporary training centres in Donegal
during 2006. These temporary training centres, in four locations, are
designed to encourage women in particular to work in the hospitality
sector, as work-at-home mothers have the sort of Irish welcome and
sense of hospitality that tourists enjoy so much. The tourism industry
needs this competitive edge, particularly in the B&B sector where an
Irish welcome is a unique feature of the tourism product.
• Failte Ireland will also be providing specific tourism marketing supports
to Donegal during 2006.
• A series of short management/supervisory programmes are available
to support the development of management capability in Tourism
enterprises. These include:
o Train the trainer programmes
o Welcome Way – Customer Care
o Responsible serving of alcohol
o Team leading skills
in various locations throughout Donegal. These will be supplemented
by a number of on-site programmes to be run on request.
• In addition, the tourism industry in Donegal will be invited, as part of a
national campaign, to tender for the provision of a premises suitable as
a training centre for three months in the last quarter of 2006. This
training centre will be targeted at both national and international
trainees who wish to obtain a FETAC accredited skills qualification
prior to joining the tourism industry.
• Failte Ireland has allocated over €550,000 to North West Regional
Tourism Authority for marketing activities in 2006.
• Failte Ireland has recently introduced a Local Area Marketing Fund, the
grant levels specifically prioritise the less developed areas and to date
there has been a number of successful applications from Donegal (in
excess of €100,000). This marketing fund will not just provide grant aid
and support but it should also build sustainable tourism networks for
• Failte Ireland will continue to progress the work of the North West Air
Access Consortium and actively seek new air routes into City Of Derry
• Tourism Ireland and Failte Ireland will continue to fund the strategic
marketing alliance - 'Ireland's Western Region’ in 2006 with a €1 million
budget. Tourism Ireland will extend its commitment to this initiative in
GB, US and other key markets.
• Failte Ireland will continue to provide marketing funding to Festivals &
Events in the North West (last year funding of €250,000 was provided
for such events in the NW region).
In addition to these activities, Tourism Ireland will continue to focus on the
North West in the following ways:
• Region to Region Programme in Britain
i. Advertising in Regional newspapers in areas with strong direct access
ii. Car Touring -
- integrated marketing with Car Ferries
- new brochure with Car Rental Council and carriers – print and
downloadable from the web – with enhanced touring itineraries.
iii. Sponsor a Region Programme in Northern Europe & New and
Developing Markets. For 2006, the North West has been twinned with
major markets in Europe and an extensive Ireland Western Regions
campaign will be finalised to highlight attractions of the area, ease of
access by air and sea and provide platforms for Regional industry partners
and their holiday offers.
• Special focus – North America
North America will have a special focus on the North West in 2006 and
will be heavily involved in delivering the promotional programme currently
being finalised by West of Ireland interests.
6.6.1 Tourism College Killybegs
The Tourism College, Killybegs was established in 1969 and is situated
just 28km from Donegal town, in Ireland's largest fishing port. The
college has been committed to educating & training persons for the
tourism industry and has earned a very high reputation nationally and
internationally for the quality of its training. The college has, in
recent years, acquired ultra-modern computing, language and general
teaching facilities. The college operates under the auspices of
Donegal VEC and graduates from most of the college programs enjoy
a 100% placement rate on completion of their course.
In December 2005 the Minister for Education and Science announced
approval of funding for the campus development at the Tourism College
in Killybegs as part of the further implementation of the "Kelly
Report" recommendations. Department of Education & Science officials have
recently met with Co Donegal VEC with a view to progressing this project. As
provided for in the Institutes of Technology Act 2006, the college is now a
constituent school of Letterkenny Institute of Technology.
6.6.2 Arts and Sports
In addition to providing tourism funding, the Department of Arts, Sports and
Tourism also provide substantial funding for the arts and sports in County
Donegal. These are detailed at Appendix 19.
6.7.1 Údarás na Gaeltachta
An tÚdarás has a range of incentives to support entrepreneurial development
broadly similar to those provided by Enterprise Ireland. In addition, an
tÚdarás provides suitable premises where required at market rental rates.
Generally, it is micro to small enterprises that are targeted for assistance due
to labour market and other constraints although occasionally larger
enterprises in the services sector can be accommodated (e.g., call centres).
The focus is on attracting/developing new technology, healthcare and natural
resource based industry. Currently the fish processing sector is dependent
upon adding value to the product and new product development as supplies
of raw material are not expanding and for some species supplies are
dwindling. There is also a focus on developing new product for the tourism
sector and the expansion of leisure/holiday facilities already in place (9 to 18
hole golf course in An Bun Beag/Na Doirí Beaga for example).
The industrial estates/parks have suffered from the closure of many former
tenant companies and a planned refurbishment on a phased basis is being
undertaken so as to provide modern facilities for the needs of the new
The Gaoth Dobhair industrial park has been the key location of employment in the
Donegal Gaeltacht. The inter-Agency Working Group on the Creation of
Employment in the Gaeltacht was established in 2002 and was asked - with a
particular focus on the Donegal Gaeltacht - to report on how reliance on traditional
sectors in manufacturing could be reduced, how further employment in the
services sector could be generated and to make recommendations on the policy
changes necessary to bring this about. Significant progress has been achieved in
implementing the Group's recommendations, e.g., establishment of an
Implementation Committee for the Gaoth Dobhair area which has succeeded in
revitalising the Gaoth Dobhair Industrial Park, provision of 3rd level courses in the
Gaeltacht and promotion of new training and educational initiatives in order to
assist upskilling and retraining of the labour market.
The current situation is that, overall, the employment situation in the Gaeltacht has
stabilised. Increased emphasis is being placed on indigenous industries and
natural resources (marine, tourism, language and culture based enterprises) in
order to strengthen the employment base in the Gaeltacht.
6.7.2 In 2006 the new jobs creation target for the Donegal Gaeltacht is 300
and €2.5m of the €5.7m building programme is planned for the Gaoth
Dobhair Industrial Park to refurbish and upgrade existing premises. During
2006 Údarás will focus on the following actions:
• working with well managed businesses, with potential, to improve their
efficiency and competitiveness
• encouraging entrepreneurs, with potential, to start up operations in the
Gaeltacht, targeting in particular SMEs operating primarily in the
services, health care, natural resources, light engineering and other
manufacturing, and niche tourism sectors
• working with local groups/committees to improve the linguistic and
cultural aspects of their areas
• encouraging the provision of childcare facilities, and
• pursuing a flagship project, which comprises extending the current 9
hole golf course in Gaoth Dobhair to a full 18 hole course.
6.7.3 Other related economic developments, which are ongoing in the Donegal
• Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, part of NUI Galway, has been
established in Gaoth Dobhair, offering diploma and degree programmes;
• Co-operation with LYIT (Letterkenny Institute of Technology) to examine the
role it can play in the development of the Gaeltacht;
• Provision of broadband in certain areas through co-operation between an
tÚdarás and Department of Communications, Natural Resources and
Marine and in other areas under the CLÁR programme;
• Active consideration by an tÚdarás as to how to best use empty vacated
• Discussions with the relevant bodies in regard to development of the
physical, business and social infrastructure, including the use of Donegal
International Airport at An Charraig Fhinn.
With regard to the NUIG Centre, Gaoth Dobhair Industrial Park, courses being
provided or planned for 2006-07 include diplomas in TV Skills, Computing for
Business Administration, Technology, Translation Skills, Irish and Art. B.A.’s
in Business Administration and Irish are also under discussion.
6.8.1 Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs
Donegal islands have benefited significantly from the Department's multi-annual
capital investment programmes for islands’ development. In recent years, major
pier and harbour improvements have been completed on Árainn Mhór and Toraigh
and on the mainland piers serving Toraigh (An Bun Beag and Machaire
Rabhartaigh). Annual funding is provided to Donegal County Council for
development of island infrastructure, e.g., roads, coastal protection, sewerage. A
sum of €430,000 is being provided towards the capital works programme for 2005-
2006, which will cost in excess of €700,000.
The provision of regular high quality access services to the islands is a priority for
the Department in order to meet the islanders' needs and to stimulate economic
development. Annual subsidies are paid in respect of the Árainn Mhór and
Toraigh ferry services as well as a winter helicopter service to Toraigh. Plans are
advanced for the construction of an airstrip on Toraigh in order to facilitate a fixed
wing air service. The feasibility of providing a subsidised ferry service to Inis
Fraoigh is under active consideration
Initiatives to promote sustainable energy, including pilot projects are being
considered by the Department at present, in association with Sustainable Energy
Other Development Programmes
Some €3.6M in funding was provided in 2005 to support community, social
inclusion and partnership programmes. Funding of €1.78M was provided in
respect of Irish language training, support and promotion. Funding for these
Programmes in Co Donegal will be continued in 2006.
Community Services Programme
In January 2006, the Government transferred responsibility for the Social
Economy Programme from FÁS to the Department of Community, Rural and
Gaeltacht Affairs. This decision reflected a shift in emphasis within the
scheme from labour market training, to providing essential community
services. Reflecting this change in emphasis, the name of the Programme has
been changed to the Community Services Programme.
The Community Services Programme provides funding to over 260 projects
that supply services to their local communities. The Programme aims to
support local community activity which addresses disadvantage, while at the
same time providing employment opportunities for people from the following
• People with Disabilities
• The Long-Term Unemployed
• Lone Parents
The activities of the projects funded under the Community Services
Programme are very varied and include community childcare services,
services for the elderly, services for people with disabilities, rural transport for
isolated rural communities, managing community halls and facilities, rural
tourism, community radio, recycling & environmental projects.
The Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs is responsible for
overall management of the Programme. It is administered, however, on a day
to day basis by POBAL on his behalf. Existing project contracts with FÁS are
being renewed with POBAL as they fall due for renewal.
6.9.1 Killybegs Harbour Centre
The harbour at Killybegs is owned and operated by the Department of
Communications, Marine and Natural Resources. The new Killybegs Harbour
Centre development provides one of the finest deep-water ports in Europe.
The port is designed to cater for vessels up to 300 metres in length, 40,000
tonnes dead weight with a maximum draft of 12 metres at low water.
Experienced service providers are located locally and offer the complete
package of agency, stevedoring and ancillary services. The land bank created
in the development of the port is available for port related activities and is
being offered for development purposes. The port provides a safe and secure
environment for business to prosper. As a direct result of €50m investment,
Killybegs is now a world-class landing location with top-class facilities that
have the clear capability to attract additional fish landings.
In June 2005 the Department launched a new brochure and website to
promote the harbour. Since then Killybegs has attracted several new cargoes
as well as cruise vessels. There have been many other proposals and
enquiries on developing new business at Killybegs and the Department is
hopeful of securing significant new business at the port in the coming year.
Proposals are also being developed for new fish based businesses made
possible by the new deep water berthing facilities, which are based on both
the catches of the current Irish fleet and Member States and Norwegian fleets
fishing off the coast of Ireland at particular times of the year. There have
been a number of important developments recently concerning the blue
whiting stock. After many years of negotiations, agreement was reached a
last autumn between the relevant Coastal States on the sharing of the blue
whiting stock. This agreement has been welcomed by the Irish industry and
there are plans for new fish meal facilities in Killybegs that would facilitiate
landings by both Irish and foreign fleets as the blue whiting fishery which is
primarily off the west coast of Ireland. The industry is also increasing the
quantitiy of blue whiting going for human consumption and BIM worked
successfully with the sector in 2005 to increase the volume and promote the
processed product. In addition, new rules for the weighing of pelagic fish in
factories outside the port of landing were introduced in mid 2005 which
facilities the landing of fish into Killybegs.
In 2006 most of the pelagic fleet is landing into Killybegs. These
developments point to an improving situation for Killybegs and the Irish fishing
industry generally. The salmon fish farming industry in Donegal, which was
severely damaged by a natural disaster in the area in 2003, has been making
a steady recovery.
Through its various units FAS delivers a wide range of activities within
Donegal to its client group. These are outlined in the following paragraphs:
FAS Training Services offer two modern Training Centres in Donegal, the only
county outside of Dublin so served. The Centres are located at Letterkenny
and Gaoth Dobhair. In addition to programmes offered in-centre, FAS
delivers training courses, including night classes, within communities where a
need is identified. The Gaoth Dobhair Training Centre located in Derrybeg is
the National Gaeltacht Training Centre and, as such, caters for apprentices
and trainees from all Gaeltacht areas. Letterkenny Training Centre caters for
the English speaking community. Letterkenny Training Centre was expanded
and can cater for up to 242 training places at a given time. Gaoth Dobhair
Training Centre, upgraded in 2003, has a capacity of 76 places. Both are
operating to the highest international standards.
Employment Services Unit is the gateway to all labour market services. FAS
Employment Services, through its network of offices and clinics, is the access
point to all FAS training and employment programmes for job-seekers. FAS
Employment Services is all a referral point to the full range of labour market
services and information for all job seekers and employers. There are three
Employment Services Offices in the county and clinics are held at eleven
locations throughout the county.
Under the Irish National Employment Action Plan, a systematic engagement
process is undergone with unemployed people. Those reaching a six month
threshold are referred to FAS Employment Services for career development,
information, referral to training/retraining, upskilling, job referrals and other
interventions. Employment Services also adopts a proactive approach to early
school leavers, single-parent families, people with disabilities and refugees..
The Community Services Unit, through its employment schemes and
programmes, plays an active role in the provision of work opportunities within
the community for those wishing to return to the workforce. Employment
Programmes are specifically targeted at equipping the long-term unemployed,
through identified worthwhile work and training, with appropriate employment
skills to assist participants progress in to the open labour market. The
Community Employment Programme has been a particularly successful
programme in this regard and the added emphasis on the development of the
individual will ensure that it remains an active labour market programme. The
Job Initiative Scheme continues to provide ongoing support for those on the
scheme and, following the Minister’s announcement of November 2004, those
remaining on the scheme will have their contracts renewed.
Local training initiatives continue to provide training within many local areas
thus enabling individuals to avail of the certified training opportunities within
their geographic locality.
During 1999 the "Job Club" concept was extended to all FÁS regions. The
Job Club is designed to assist participants in the development of confidence
building, and provides the resources needed for an intensive search for work.
Within Donegal, FAS Community Services has contracted with the Area
Based Partnership Companies to deliver this service within their partnership
areas. Resulting from this, three Job Clubs are in operation at fixed locations
namely Buncrana, Ballyshannon and Derrybeg. Additional venues are in
operation, as required, throughout the county at various times to cater for the
client group within their own geographic locality.
FÁS continues to deliver training services to people with a disability through
the Supported Employment Programme and Specialist Training Providers.
Such programmes and supports are designed to best suit the individual
depending on their identified needs.
6.10.3 Service to Business
• Apprenticeship: There are 3096 registered apprentices in the North
West region (July 2006) and these apprentices are regularly monitored
and scheduled through the seven phases of their apprenticeship.
• To date 311 employees in Co. Donegal have completed the Skills for
Work programme aimed at encouraging workers to upskill and re-enter
lifelong learning. This is a national programme under the FÁS One
Step Up initiative funded through the Workplace Basic Education Fund
set up by the government under the Department of Enterprise, Trade
• There are currently 75 Competency Development Programmes (CDP)
running in the North West region, with funded places for 2098
employees. Thirty seven of these programmes are in Donegal.
Courses include forklift, HACCP, fish filleting, robotic welding,
childcare, ECDL and MOS etc.
• Two Learning and Development Networks have been established in
Donegal recently. The Killybegs Chamber of Commerce has been
allocated funding for a Training & Development Officer for three years.
The Donegal Engineering Employers’ Association has also been
allocated funding for a Training and Development Officer for three
6.11.1 Department of Social and Family Affairs (D/SFA)
Through the Social and Family Support Services, D/SFA has responded
proactively to the unemployment situation in County Donegal.
The primary activation vehicles at D/SFA’s disposal are the Back To Work
Programme (BTW) and Back To Education Allowance (BTEA) schemes plus
some additional discretionary funding through the Technical Assistance and
Training Fund (TAF), the Special Projects Fund (SPF) and, latterly, the Family
Services Project (FSP).
6.11.2 Back to Work Programme
Donegal has had the highest per capita participation on the programme and
4th highest in actual numbers after Dublin, Cork and Galway. With
approximately 3.5% of the population of the State it had approximately 4.5%
of the numbers on the BTW. Since the eligibility conditions changed to focus
more on those furthest from the labour market, this percentage has risen. At
the end of September 2005 Donegal accounted for almost 9% of the national
Since 1997 the Partnership companies have taken the lead in the more overt
business development and mentoring role for those who started self
employment under the programme, with DSFA reverting to a more
background support role. As a barometer of the effectiveness of the
programme, in 2003 the three partnership companies6, in association with
DSFA, carried out a county wide study of the position of those who had
become self-employed under BTW and had completed the cycle, to establish
how many were still in business. The findings indicated that almost 74% had
not reverted to the welfare system. A further survey in early 2005 by DLDC
indicated a success rate of more than 80%.
On an annual basis SFSS give once-off financial assistance to over 100 BTW
micro-enterprises in start-up phase for the purchase of essential services,
equipment and insurance to the value of over €100,000
6.11.3 Back To Education Allowance
The Back to Education Allowance allows social welfare recipients to return to
education, either 2nd level or 3rd level and retain the full rate of their payment.
The 3rd level option allows students to undertake, on a full time basis, any
recognized undergraduate course in any recognized academic institution
anywhere within the island of Ireland, or indeed within the EU. Students are
also permitted to pursue the H.Dip ED under the scheme. In the academic
year 2004/05 there were 380 participants in Donegal, approximately 80% of
whom were participating in 3rd level. Unlike VTOS, participants in which are
predominantly female, the gender breakdown of BTEA participants show 42%
male and 58% female.
From a high point of 39,000 in 2000, figures have reduced to 9,354 in September 2005. Of those
there are 817 participants in County Donegal
6.11.4 The Soft Loan Funds
As an additional support for the welfare to work initiatives, there are, in County
Donegal two “soft” or interest free loan funds, the Donegal Enterprise
Assistance Loan (DEAL) and the Women’s Loan Fund (WLF). Both these
funds assist in the development of micro enterprises by offering interest free
loans. The DEAL loan (established in 1998) is confined to those who are on
BTW, while the Women’s Loan Fund (WLF) was a further development,
established in 2000, designed as a support for women who are starting a
Since their inception the loan funds have assisted 270 micro-enterprises with
loans of €1.048m. In 2003 the DEAL fund assisted 26 enterprises to the
amount of €122k, and WLF assisted 18 enterprises to the amount of €67k. A
review was commissioned7 to evaluate the funds and findings indicated
• that some 355 jobs have been created in enterprises which availed of
• that over 80% of loan recipients have continued in business
• that there is a contribution of €7m per annum to local GDP due to the
extra employment created
6.11.5 LYIT Access Course
As a result of joint membership of the CDB Lifelong Learning working group,
DSFA agreed to fund a 1 year access course offered by the Letterkenny
Institute of Technology (LYIT). The primary target group were DSFA
customers who would not have the points to access 3rd level through the
normal CAO channels. Admission was by interview, and successful
graduates would gain a portable qualification (FETAC Level 2), enabling to
progress to “mainstream” 3rd level. The course was initiated in 2001 with 24
students, nineteen (19) of whom were social welfare recipients. Of these 15
(79%) successfully passed the exams, and most decided to continue their
studies to degree level. In 2002/03 and 2003/04 the course was offered both
on the LYIT campus and in 2 outreach centres in the county, with capacity for
75 students. The majority of the students continued to be from a social
welfare background, and the pass rates continued to be in the high 70%s. In
2004/05 LYIT and the VEC agreed to continue the course under mainstream
funding. Therefore an initiative which DSFA had been instrumental in
establishing, and which it funded to the amount of €175,000, was able to
continue as a mainstream educational response to the issue of under-
education of social welfare recipients.
6.12.1 Department of Education and Science – Promoting
The Department of Education & Science provides funding to 177 primary and
26 second level schools in Donegal catering for some 29,500 students. In
addition, Letterkenny Institute of Technology and the Tourism College in
Killybegs cater for some 2,200 full-time and approximately 300 part-time
students. There are some 4,000 students from Donegal attending third level
Institutions in the State.
In addition to operating 14 of the second level Schools in the County, County
Donegal VEC, through funding provided by the Department of Education &
Science, also provides Community, Further and Adult education services.
6.12.2 Addressing educational disadvantage at primary and second level
A key focus of education policy is to prioritise investment in favour of those
most at risk and to optimise access, participation and outcome at every level of
the system for disadvantaged groups. Consequently, the Department has
developed a range of programmes specifically designed to tackle educational
disadvantage in accordance with the strategies outlined in the National Action
Plan for Social Inclusion and Sustaining Progress. In Co. Donegal, this includes
provision for programmes at primary and post-primary levels, as well as for the
youth sector, further education measures and programmes designed to
broaden access to third level for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Giving Children an Even Break (incorporating Breaking the Cycle)
Under the Giving Children an Even Break (GCEB) Programme which was
launched in 2001, 164 participating primary schools in Co. Donegal are
benefiting from a range of additional supports including teacher posts and
financial supports to be targeted at disadvantaged pupils. Appendix 4 gives
details of the schools in Co. Donegal that participate in the ‘Giving Children an
Even Break’ Scheme.
Breaking the Cycle Pilot Project
The Breaking the Cycle Pilot Project was launched in 1996. It seeks to
discriminate positively in favour of primary schools which have high
concentrations of children who are at risk of not reaching their potential in the
education system because of their socio-economic backgrounds.
34 participating schools in County Donegal each receive additional annual
grants for materials and equipment and for out of school projects. Participating
schools in Co. Donegal also have access to 20 specially appointed local co-
ordinators, and targeted in-career development for school staff. Appendix 5
gives details of the schools in Co. Donegal participating in the Breaking the
Cycle Pilot Project.
Disadvantaged Areas Scheme
The Disadvantaged Area Scheme benefits 12 Primary and 12 Post-Primary
schools in County Donegal by providing extra teaching posts, additional funding
for book rental schemes, additional capitation grants and Home/School Liaison
grants. Appendices 6 & 7 give details of the schools in Co. Donegal
participating in the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme.
DEIS (Delivering equality of opportunity in schools)
Given the clear link between early school leaving and continued socio-
economic disadvantage in adult life, the Department is providing increased
resources for schools in disadvantaged areas to improve their school
completion rates by offering extra supports for their students. The key
principle of early intervention to identify and help children at risk of leaving
school early is a major component of the Plan.
76 rural and 5 urban Primary schools along with 12 Post Primary schools in
County Donegal have been invited to participate in the new School Support
Programme (SSP) under the DEIS action plan. All of these schools, with the
exception of two rural Primary schools, have accepted the invitation to join the
SSP. Letters have issued to all schools under the SSP outlining the roll out of
measures under Phase 1 of the action plan. The SSP will bring together, and
build upon, a number of existing interventions for schools and school
clusters/communities with a concentrated level of educational disadvantage.
Existing schemes and programmes will be integrated into the School Support
Programme on a phased basis over the implementation period. Appendix 8
provides further details.
Home/School/Community Liaison Scheme
All the primary and post-primary schools with designated disadvantaged status
were invited to join this scheme in 1999. The Scheme is delivered through a co-
ordinator (teacher), who is assigned to a school or group of schools. The
scheme is concerned with establishing partnership and collaboration between
parents and teachers in the interests of the child’s learning. The role of the
individual coordinator is to work with school staff, parents and relevant
community agencies in advancing these aims. Appendix 9 gives details of the
schools in Co. Donegal participating in the Home/School/Community Liaison
School Completion Programme
The focus of the School Completion Programme is on young people between
the ages of 4 and 18 years who are educationally disadvantaged and at risk of
leaving school early. There are currently 28 primary schools and 6 post
primary schools in Co. Donegal participating in the School Completion
programme. Appendices 10 & 11 give details of these schools.
National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB)
The Education (Welfare) Act, 2000 provides for the establishment of the
National Educational Welfare Board as the single national body with
responsibility for encouraging and supporting regular school attendance and
tackling the problems of absenteeism and early school leaving.
The Board is developing a nationwide service that is accessible to schools,
parents/guardians and others concerned with the welfare of young people. For
this purpose an Educational Welfare Officer (EWO) has been appointed in Co.
Donegal to provide a welfare-focused service to support regular school
attendance and discharge the Board’s functions locally.
Other initiatives to promote educational inclusion include the Free Books
scheme, the School Transport scheme, specific initiatives for international and
traveller students and Career Guidance and Counselling. Appendix 12
contains further details of these initiatives.
6.12.3 Enterprise in the Curriculum at primary and second Level
The primary curriculum encourages the development of a range of skills and
attitudes that would underpin entrepreneurship. At second level, major
curricular reforms have been introduced since 1994/95 to strengthen the
vocational and technical dimension of senior cycle second level programmes,
to promote multi-skilling through the linking of related technical and/or
business subjects, allied with a continental language, ICT and a work
experience programme (LCVP) and through an applied approach which
encourages practical community based experiential learning. (LCA).
Appendix 13 provides further details of the curriculum at primary and second
level in this regard.
6.12.4 Further Education/Second Chance
Donegal VEC is the primary provider throughout Donegal. The VEC has two
Adult Education Organisers who oversee a range of Education & Training
programmes including VTOS, Youthreach, Travellers Training and Adult
Literacy programmes under a team of locally based literacy organisers.
Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS)
VTOS provides second chance education and training for adults aged 21 and
over who have been receiving an unemployment payment or signing for credits
for at least six months. Lone Parents, dependant spouses and persons with
disabilities who satisfy these criteria are also eligible. The programme is of 1-2
years’ duration, and participants may choose from a range of options including
Foundation, Level 1, Level 2 or 3 within FETAC; subjects in the Junior or
Leaving Certificate; or a portfolio approach to certification. Trainees receive an
allowance in lieu of welfare entitlements. Childcare support is also available to
encourage parents onto the programme. Programmes are provided by Co.
This initiative aims to provide education, training and work experience to young
people aged 15-20 with no formal education or training qualifications i.e. who
have left school with less than 5 Ds at junior cycle.
Programmes are provided in an out-of-school setting, and feature integrated
personal development, literacy, numeracy, ICT and communications and a
range of vocational options and work experience. Trainees are paid a training
allowance. Guidance and counselling and childcare services are available for
participants. All 3 Youthreach centres in Co. Donegal provide a substance
misuse prevention programme and, in co-operation with other State agencies, a
crime awareness programme “Copping On”.
Senior Traveller Training Centre
The Centre in Co. Donegal provides a programme of integrated general
education, vocational training and work experience and
guidance/counselling/psychological services Travellers in the 15+ age group.
As with Youthreach, programmes are provided in an out-of school setting, and
feature integrated personal development, literacy, numeracy, ICT and
communications and a range of vocational options and work experience.
Trainees are paid a training allowance. There is no upper age limit on the
programme in order to attract Traveller parents; in view of the impact
participation has on their children’s schooling. Guidance and counselling and
childcare services are available for participants.
Post Leaving Certificate Courses (PLCs)
Post Leaving Certificate courses are provided in schools and colleges for young
people and adults who have competed upper second level education but who
need vocational training to enhance their employment prospects. In Co.
Donegal, the programme offers some 14 courses in 7 centres. All
programmes feature general education, ICT and a work experience programme
in addition to the vocational options.
Education Equality Initiative
The Educational Equality Initiative (EEI) was established in 2000 to promote
education equality for adults by funding projects that address educational
disadvantage. The Meevagh Resource Group from Co Donegal has received
€138,659 funding from phase 2 of this initiative. Appendix 14 provides
Donegal VEC receives grant aid towards the cost of community education
programmes and special initiatives for disadvantaged adults, to enable them to
access learning at moderate or no cost. The funds are generally used to offset
the fee costs of attending courses and to provide tuition hours to a range of
community education programmes, both provided directly or through
Back to Education Initiative
This provides for an expansion of flexible part time options across further
education so that adults can combine a return to learning with work and family
responsibilities. The priority group consists of adults with less than upper
second level education. An adult ICT skills initiative is part of the programme.
A total of 795 participants were funded for courses under the Back to Education
Initiative in Co. Donegal in 2005 at a cost of €582,500.
Other Funding: the Department is also involved in a diverse set of individual
funding arrangements made between it and the grant recipient organisation.
These are, in general, initiatives which the Dept. supports or in which it plays a
partnership role. Appendix 15 provides further details.
County Development Board
In recognition of the vital role which lifelong learning plays in the lives of all of
the inhabitants of the County, Donegal County Development Board has
established a Lifelong Learning Forum with the aim of ensuring greater co-
ordination amongst the various agencies and organisations involved in Lifelong
learning and to address key learning needs in the county. Appendix 16
provides further details.
6.12.5 Third Level
Access to Third Level for the Educationally Disadvantaged
There are a range of schemes and measures available to assist students from
disadvantaged background to avail of third level and further education:
(Appendix 17 provides further details)
• The Special Rates of Maintenance Grants for Disadvantaged Students
• The Millennium Partnership Fund for Disadvantage
• The Student Assistance/Access Fund
• The Special Fund for Students with Disabilities
6.13.1 Department of Agriculture and Food
Agriculture continues to play an important role in the county with dairy and
beef processing facilities providing important employment opportunities. Last
year the three major agricultural Schemes viz the Single Farm Payment, the
Headage Scheme and Rural Environment Protection Scheme delivered
€87 million to farmers in Donegal. This figure will tend upwards over the next
few years with increased participation in the Rural Environment Protection
Scheme in the county.
Other achievements during the year included:
A vibrant trade in live cattle to the continent has been maintained.
The provision of an addition €18 million for the country to deal with the
Special Beef Premium overshoot problem which was important for many
farmers in Co Donegal.
The securing of EU Commission approval to retain the REPS payment of
€242 per hectare for commonage farmers without affecting their Single
An Aid package to develop the seed potato sector.
A special allocation from the National Reserve for sheep farmers in
commonage areas who were prevented from expansion prior to or during
the 2000-2002 Single Farm Payment reference period pending the
publication of the Commonage Framework Plan.
Agreement on the reopening of the live export trade in sheep to the
A massive boost to the Farm Waste Management Scheme with grant aid
of 70% with an additional top-up for young farmers.
Stamp duty relief for young trained framers has been renewed in the 2006
Budget for a further three years.
A strong defence of Irish agriculture in the WTO talks has been
A substantial improvement has been proposed in the application of the
Teagasc and the private planners have helped in increasing the number of
farmers participating in the Rural Environment Protection Scheme in the
New markets for our beef are being vigorously pursued by An Bord Bia.
The successful implementation of the changeover to the Single Farm
Payment and timely payment to farmers.
Agreement was reached on a new EU rural development package for
2007 to 2013 period. This agreement was particularly satisfactory in
respect of forestry support and the classification of disadvantaged areas.
In 2006, modulated funds from the Single Farm Payment will be used as a
once-off payment under the compensatory allowances scheme.
The importance of equivalence in standards, in respect of meat imports, is
being constantly pressed with the EU Commission.
A comprehensive report on the sheep meat sector is being prepared and
the Minister is intent on introducing a number of initiatives to assist this
important farming sector in the county.
A new initiative to promote local and regional food economies was launched
in November 2005 in Killybegs. The initiative involving the Department of
Agriculture and Food, Bord Bia and other state agencies responsible for food
industry development is intended to stimulate and expand interest in regional
and local food production.
Chapter 7 – Addressing Key Infrastructural Requirements
7.1 In order to further meet the challenges and opportunities identified and to
underpin the objectives and strategies of the State development agencies and
Donegal County Council, their detailed views were sought on local issues
outside of their control that need to be progressed and are critical for success
in enterprise development. These were the subject of written submissions and
discussions as well as presentations to the Donegal IDG. These issues were
discussed at the IDG with the relevant Government Departments who also
provided written submissions following their internal considerations. During
the course of the deliberations of the IDG, Departments and agencies were
encouraged to push ahead with plans or initiatives that would help to improve
the infrastructure of Donegal rather than wait for the finalisation of the report.
The IDG noted that progress was made over the three months in which it was
meeting with regard to several diverse areas that will enhance Donegal's
attractiveness for job creation.
The output of the work of the IDG is set out below:
7.2 PROGRESS ON KEY ISSUES
The key issues identified were Access, Utilities, Energy, Education,
Entrepreneurship and Tourism. Several of these issues had multiple
At the outset, it became clear that there is a wide range of service providers
and services available from the various Government Departments and
agencies operating in the Donegal region. It has not been possible to include
all of these in this report and the omission of any providers or services does
not in any way undervalue the important work that is being carried out.
It was also noted, in the context of the educational and skills deficits, that
there is a vast array of supports and services available, as can be seen in
Chapter 6, many of which are complementary in nature. It is therefore vital
that communication, cooperation and coordination is maximised among the
various providers, in terms of ensuring delivery to potential beneficiaries.
While there is already a good level of cooperation in evidence, the IDG
recommends that service providers redouble their efforts at communicating
and working together on a concerted basis at the local level
7.3 Access (see also North/South Chapter 9)
Because of its peripheral location, access to Donegal from Dublin and Belfast
is considered, in particular by IDA Ireland, to be the single biggest impediment
to attracting foreign direct investment to the county. This concerns both road
and air access. Unlike almost all other counties, Donegal has no rail network
thus increasing the importance of the road network, not just to and from the
county but also within the county. Some of the most important access issues
such as those relating to Derry airport and road improvement needs (e.g. A5)
are within the remit of the Northern Ireland Authorities. These are dealt with
in the separate Chapter on North/South.
7.4. ROADS (see also North/South Chapter 9)
7.4.1 National Road Network – Improvements on routes serving
• Investment in national roads in Donegal over the period 2000-2005 totals
€151.03m i.e. €135.51m for improvement works and €15.52m for
maintenance. The allocation for 2005 was of the order of €49.235m with
€40m allocated for 2006.
• Projects completed in recent years include N15 Donegal Bypass (1999),
N15 Clar-Barnesmore (2001), N13 (Bridgend) Northern Ireland Border,
N56 Mountcharles Bypass (2001). In addition, major upgrade projects
have been completed, or underway or are planned on routes serving the
North or North-West (i.e. N1, N2, N3 & N4). These latter projects have
substantially improved road links to the West and North West.
7.4.2 National Road Upgrade Plans 2006-2008
• The N15 Bundoran/Ballyshannon Bypass was opened on 27 April
Projects in Construction
• The N56 Mountain Top to Illistrin Road Realignment will be completed
during the 2006 – 2008 period. Phase 1 of the Mountain Top to Illistrin
scheme will be completed in Q3 2006. Phase 2 of the scheme will go to
tender in late 2006 allowing a construction start in early 2007 with
completion expected in mid/late 2008. [Phase 1 of the Letterkenny Outer
Relief Road (DoEHLG funded road scheme) will also be completed in
Projects in Planning
• Substantial funding will also be provided during the period 2006-2008 to
progress the planning and design of the following major road schemes in
− N14 Manorcunningham to Lifford/Strabane (in conjunction with
Interreg funding)- complete preliminary design;
− N15 Ballybofey/Stranorlar Bypass –approval has been given by
the NRA to complete CPO/EIS documentation and to publish the
CPO/EIS. These Statutory Orders are expected to be
advertised/published in Autumn/Winter 2006. Approval to go to the
construction phase is subject to a successful outcome of an An
Bord Pleanala Oral Hearing and to the outcome of a review
currently underway by the NRA,
− N15 Lifford to Ballybofey/Stranorlar - complete route selection
process and commence preliminary design;
− N56 Mountcharles to Killybegs - preliminary design and
preparation of CPO for the Mountcharles to Inver section;
− Letterkenny Outer Relief Road Phase 2 - identify the preferred
route in order to protect route from development.
• Funding will continue to be provided for annual pavement and
improvement works on the national primary and national secondary roads
in the county. The current high level of funding for pavement strengthening
works should continue throughout the period 2006-2008. In 2005, EUR6.5
million was allocated for pavement and minor improvement works on the
national primary roads N3, N13, N14 and N15 in Donegal. Over the next
few years major pavement strengthening works are planned for the N13
Letterkenny Dual Carriageway, N13 Bridgend to Manorcunningham, N14
in Letterkenny and the N15 between Ballyshannon and Laghey. EUR5.7
million was allocated to pavement and minor improvements on the N56
national secondary road in 2005 and this represents a steady and
significant increase in funding year on year between 2001 and 2005. This
high level of funding will continue over the next few years until a high
quality road pavement is achieved along the entire route. The Donegal
National Roads Design Office have prepared a 5 Year Plan for the N56
covering the period 2006-2010, which identifies the most critical sections
requiring improvement and the order of priority. The NRA is committed to
funding the improvement works identified in this plan.
7.4.3 Strategic Gaeltacht Roads
€2.5m has been allocated by the Department of Community, Rural and
Gaeltacht Affairs for Strategic Gaeltacht Roads in the Donegal Gaeltacht for
Road from Carrickfinn Airport to N56
DCRGA has provided funding under the Gaeltacht Strategic Roads
Programme for works to the R259 from Anagaire towards Croithlí. Some
€1,230,000 has been expended since 2004 go widen the existing road to 6m.
It is proposed to continue funding this work in 2006-07 in order to bring it to
completion within two years (subject to acquisition of land).
7.5. AIRPORTS (see also North/South Chapter 9)
7.5.1 Carrickfinn Airport Investment
Between 2001 and 2004 the Department of Transport provided capital grants,
under NDP, totalling almost €1.1m.
During the same period, the Department provided the airport with €1.4m in
operational grants towards, marketing, safety & security costs.
The scale of support from the Department is quite significant given the size of
the airport and the limited number of services (mostly subsidized PSO
operations; total passenger throughput is less than 50,000 per annum). In
recognition of the role the airport plays in the Donegal region, the Dept
arranged for an additional PSO flight to Dublin to be operated on a daily basis
throughout the year.
Additional capital funding to all regional airports will be available under
Transport 21. All of the regional airports have been invited to submit
proposals for capital funding in the context of a planning and implementation
programme up to 2010, involving a total budget of €65 million. This increased
investment will help airports in the North West, such as Donegal Airport, to
expand the range of services available on UK and European routes in the
It should also be noted that Údarás na Gaeltachta has to date invested a sum
of €495,197 in ordinary shares and €444,408 in preference shares.
Increased Water Supply/Treatment Capacity - Letterkenny
The water supply to Letterkenny has been described by the IDA and
Enterprise Ireland as a serious constraint on economic growth particular
particularly in the context of attracting industry dependent on significant
supplies of water. It is estimated that circa one million gallons of water a day
would be required in the event of a major industry locating in the Business
Park, Letterkenny. To achieve this in the short term an interim water supply
augmentation scheme would be required, as the construction of the major
regional scheme the Lough Mourne/Letterkenny Water Supply Scheme will
take 6-7 years to complete. What the council is suggesting as an interim
measures to augment the water supply is as follows:
- Additional supply from a borehole source – this would cost about
€3.5m and would require a tendering process.
- Approve advance works on Lough Mourne Scheme which includes a
storage reservoir in Letterkenny– this would cost approximately €4m
and would require a tendering process in advance of undertaking the
A tender recommendation report for a borehole scheme to augment supply
was submitted by Donegal Co. Council to the Department of Environment,
Heritage and Local Government (DEHLG). DEHLG approved this in late
On 16 December 2005, the Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local
Government announced plans for the Water Services Investment Programme
for 2005 to 2007 with some €335M provided for Donegal.
The strategically important Lough Mourne/Letterkenny Regional Water Supply
Scheme (estimated cost €41 million) is included in the 2005-2007 programme,
with an indicative start date of 2006. This scheme is viewed as the long-term
solution to Letterkenny’s water supply needs.
Donegal County Council has prepared an environmental Impact Statement
(EIS) and a Preliminary report outlining the scope of the scheme. It is
understood that the EIS, Water Abstraction Order and Compulsory Purchase
Order were approved by An Bórd Pleanála in December 2005. It is now a
matter for the Council to confirm the certification of the EIS and advise the
Department of the changes to the submitted Preliminary Report, if any,
necessitated by An Bórd Pleanála’s decision. When these are submitted the
Department will proceed with its examination of the Preliminary Report.
Other major schemes for Donegal which are included in the programme and
are currently under construction include Letterkenny Sewerage Scheme
(€29M) Donegal Bay Waste Water Management Scheme (€27M).
Furthermore, major schemes to commence in 2006 include Ballyshannon
Water Supply Scheme (€19.4M), Bundoran Sewerage Scheme (€27M),
Gweedore Sewerage Scheme (€25m) and Killybegs Sewerage Scheme
(€17.5m). See Appendix 18.
7.7 BROADBAND (see also North/South Chapter 9)
7.7.1 Donegal Town Metropolitan Area Network
The reason for putting the metropolitan area network (MAN) in place is to
facilitate the work of the development organisations selling County Donegal
as a destination that could support knowledge based business. The towns
concerned are Bundoran, Ballyshannon, Carndonagh, Buncrana, Ballybofey
and Donegal Town. Donegal Town did not fit the original criteria but “approval
in principal” was given to the Co. Council to proceed to design stage. It
consists of 14km of open access duct and fiber infrastructure and includes a
5.8km spur to connect with ESBT network.
The estimated cost of this project for Donegal Town is €2.6M with 10% of this
being provided by Donegal County Council. Appointment of a Design/Project
Manager is imminent.
The Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, Noel
Dempsey announced the approval for the Donegal Town MAN on 5th
7.7.2 Broadband for Rural Areas
The Group Broadband Scheme (GBS) enables small towns and rural
communities of less than 1,500 people to come together with service
providers and obtain broadband connectivity for their areas with up to 55%
grant assistance available from the Government.
There have been two Calls under the GBS to date and the following projects
were approved for Donegal:
GBS 1st Call – Grant of €44k provided
• Goath Dobhair – launched December 2004
• Dungloe – launched February 2005
• Killybegs – launched March 2005
GBS 2nd Call – Grant of €475k approved
• Dunlewy, Annagary, Loughanure
• Raphoe, Manorcunningham
• North Central Donegal (Kilmacrennan, Letterkenny rural, Carraigart,
Dunfanaghey, Churchill, Milford, Fanad, Downings, Falcarragh,
Rathmullan & Kerrykeel)
Minister Dempsey will shortly announce a 3rd call for GBS projects. The
details of the 3rd call are currently being finalised with a view to streamlining
the application process. Communities who were not mobilised to take
advantage of the first two calls will now have an opportunity to encourage
internet providers to bring broadband infrastructure to their area.
Also, in the context of backhaul/ resilience, an assessment of capacity and
need is being undertaken locally by Ernact in conjunction with Donegal
County Council. Local funding (via Peace Programme) is being pursued as
co-funding option with balance funding required to complete identified
requirements to be submitted for consideration by DCMNR.
7.7.3 Cross Border Open Access Resilient Link
Approval in principle has been given to the idea of a cross border link
between Letterkenny and Bridgend (near Derry border).
This would put in place fibre based resilience to serve the proposed
metropolitan area networks along the E.S.B.I line (Bundoran, Ballyshannon,
Donegal Town, Ballybofey, Letterkenny and possibly Buncrana) if ESBI
commit to using it.
Discussions are ongoing with the Department of Communication, Marine and
Natural Resources in relation to this issue. The establishment of such a
linkage would create an open access broadband solution from a range of
potential suppliers for each of the primary development centres of the County
along the E.S.B. I. “Spine”.
This has been identified as the key issue by the development organisations in
supporting knowledge based employment in these areas. Many pragmatic
difficulties with the proposal remain unsolved, most importantly that the
proposal is not currently a cross border link, as it terminates at Bridgend.
Donegal County Council are to complete their review of the options available
to them. This specifically includes a resolution to the Bridgend – Derry leg of
the suggested link, as well as indicators/commitments from ISPs to use the
link if commissioned.
Several private companies are currently enabling genuinely cross border fibre
on this route (Eircom & Bytel).
The DCMNR is still awaiting a proposal on the cross border fibre link that
addresses concerns about the viability of the link. DCMNR will not be in a
position to fund a link until those concerns have been adequately addressed.
DCMNR also believes that market forces appear to be resolving the issue
without the need for state investment. DCMNR does not have a line of
funding at present to fund this project.
With the continuing growth of the Irish economy, the average annual increase
in peak electricity demand nationally has been around 4%. In Donegal,
however, the growth of demand has been even greater with parts of the
county experiencing double the average growth rate. This growth has put a
strain on the electricity network in Donegal. The Transmission System
Operator and ESB Networks have been involved in trying to find a solution
to the problems that exist in the county following An Bord Pleanála’s rejection
of earlier plans to improve the situation.
There are three main areas where problems exist:
• Letterkenny: The increased load on the electricity network requires
more capacity between the North and South of the county. The
increased capacity will provide a more secure and reliable electricity
supply to the North and West of the county and to large centres such
as Letterkenny itself.
• Derrybeg: Increased demand for electricity in the North West of
Donegal can no longer be met by the existing 38kV network if the
voltage is to be maintained within the electricity distribution standards.
Electricity losses across the 38kV network increase in relation to the
distance the power is required to travel. Any loss of supply to one of
the two existing 38kV lines will automatically lead to thousands of
electricity users losing supply.
• Killybegs: The area around Killybegs/Kilcar is currently supplied by one
110kV line with no alternative supply available for standby situations
e.g. during faults, or to facilitate normal planned maintenance of the
networks. This lack of standby capacity could potentially limit new
businesses wishing to settle in the south of the county and hinder the
expansion of current businesses. Killybegs, as the fishing capital of
Ireland, has a large industrial load and any lack of extra capacity may
ultimately limit the growth of the fishing industry in the area while
impeding the area’s ability to compete both nationally and
Failure to address the situation will curtail industrial and commercial
expansion in Donegal and is likely to adversely affect tourism. Global
companies locating in Ireland, particularly in the IT and Communications
sectors, require good quality electricity supply; lack of a good quality electricity
infrastructure may hinder Donegal as a potential location for that inward
The Proposed Solution
After a process of consultation with interested groups in Donegal, the
following is proposed as a solution to the electricity problems in the county:
• Construct a new 110kV line to connect Binbane 110kV station to
Letterkenny 110kV station
• Construct a new switching station on the proposed Binbane -
Letterkenny 110kV line, and from there build a new 110kV line to a new
110/38kV station to be built at Gaoth Dobhair Business Park, this will
then feed into the existing 38kV network.
Both of the proposed lines will consist mainly of double wood pole structures
with lattice steel towers only where the line changes direction. Public
Consultation on the Overhead Line Route Corridors has taken place. An
independent Environmental Consultant has carried out feasibility
assessments of the proposed routes and a preferred option was advertised in
the local papers in Donegal on 6th December last.
A key objective in the design of the final routes will be to minimise the impact
on the environment as far as possible. As part of the ongoing process to
determine the final line routes, discussions will continue with many groups
and individuals, prior to submission of a planning application. The
Transmission System Operator and ESB are actively seeking the support of
all interested stakeholders for this project.
While local interests have referred to the need for greater resilience
particularly in the Letterkenny area including access to 220 kV, the
Transmission System Operator has concluded that 110 kV reinforcement is
adequate for the needs of the county. This includes making provision for
. Since the original project had its planning permission overturned a lot of
effort has gone into reviewing the possible solutions to the electricity
infrastructure through local consultation with the various stakeholders,
including community groups, business groups, Údarás na Gaeltachta & IDA
as well as the Donegal County Council. The consultation document on 110kV
lines was published in summer 2005 and over 30 responses from various
interest groups and individuals were examined. The project, which proposed
three different routes, has gained broad political support in principle,
particularly with the recognition that the situation regarding capacity in the
county is quite precarious. There is also widespread support within the
business community for the project. As soon as the consultation process is
complete, a fresh planning application will be submitted. It is expected this
submission will be made around September 2006. .
The Strategic Infrastructure Bill
The purpose of this Bill is to amend the Planning and Development Act, 2000
to provide that specific types of infrastructure, which are listed in the Bill, will
be eligible to apply to come within a single-step application process to An
Bord Pleanála. This new procedure will be administered by a new Strategic
Infrastructure Division to be established within the Board. The Board itself will
decide which projects are of strategic importance, having regard to certain
criteria, which are listed in the Bill. The Bill passed all stages in the houses of
the Oireachtas on 6 July 2006.
The Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources as well
as the ESB have indicated that there are no resource impediments to carrying
out the improvements outlined above. The ESB is confident that competent
contractors would be available to complete the task. The construction
timescale according to the ESB would be 24 to 30 months, once planning was
7.8.2 Gas - Extension of the Natural Gas System to the
In February 2001 the Government approved in principle to the extension of
the gas network to the North West. This issued was further progressed in
September 2001 when the Government agreed that a formal, detailed
proposal with full costings, for extending the network to Sligo via Ballina from
the planned Mayo/Galway pipeline and to Letterkenny from the Belfast to
Derry pipeline should be submitted to Government before any formal decision
was made to commit Exchequer funding for the project. The Government also
agreed that, in the event of a decision to proceed with Exchequer funding for
the extension, the project would be put out to tender.
In July 2003, it was decided to proceed separately with the feasibility study for
the proposed Derry to Letterkenny project due to the ongoing delays with the
Mayo to Galway pipeline and the availability of INTERREG funding.
Derry to Letterkenny Feasibility Study/Cost Benefit Analysis.
The feasibility study on the proposed Derry to Letterkenny pipeline was
completed in October 2004. In November 2004, on foot of that study, the
Minister requested that a full Cost Benefit Analysis be carried out on the
proposed Derry to Letterkenny Pipeline. The Cost Benefit Analysis was
undertaken by DKM Economic Consultants on behalf of the Commission for
Energy Regulation and the Department. It was completed in March 2005.
The analysis found that the proposed extension was neither financially nor
economically viable and would need full 100% subvention of capital costs plus
an ongoing operating grant each year.
The report concluded by stating “that the project does not represent anything
close to a commercial opportunity and the taxpayer would be required to fund
the project if a decision is made to proceed”
Assessment of Value of extending National Gas Pipeline to Letterkenny
in the context of National Spatial Strategy
Letterkenny/Derry is one of nine gateways identified across the country as
having the potential to grow strongly in population terms, as well as having the
scale to support and achieve the type of critical mass necessary to sustain
strong levels of job growth in the region. The basis for this designation
included the “strong dynamic in the relationship between Letterkenny and
Derry”. The Regional Development Strategy for Northern Ireland, which was
adopted by the Northern Ireland Assembly, identified Derry, with its access to
natural gas, as a major regional city for the northwest, including Donegal. The
NSS expects that the development of Letterkenny/Derry as a linked gateway
will enhance this relationship and strengthen the northwest.
DKM Consultants felt that whether Derry or Letterkenny was designated as
the ‘hub’, the likelihood is that Derry would be the ’engine’ for energising
Letterkenny rather than vice versa. In its report, DKM was of the opinion that
the availability of natural gas as a source of energy supply was generally not a
significant factor for the type of high value added companies that Ireland has
attracted over recent years. Gas would be a substitute for gasoil as a central
heating fuel for the typical Irish company and would not be used as an integral
part of the manufacturing process. The price and convenience advantage of
gas for heating would not be material in the overall location decision.
In its June 2003 paper on Energy Policy in Ireland, the ESRI looked at the
area of investment in energy infrastructure and in this context concluded that
provision of gas infrastructure should not be used as a policy instrument for
promoting balanced regional development. If such investment were not
commercially viable the implicit subsidy payable to achieve the deployment of
gas infrastructure would almost certainly be better used to finance other forms
of infrastructure more conducive to regional development
Consensus Conclusion on justification to extend natural gas pipeline
from Derry to Letterkenny:
For the type of major investment now being attracted to Ireland, presence of a
supply of gas was neither an incentive nor obstacle to locate in a particular
area. The funding required for this project would be better spent by investing
in other infrastructure, including energy infrastructure, for the benefit of the
economy in the north west of the island.
On foot of these findings, the Special European Union Programmes Body
(SEUPB) notified the Department on June 1st 2005 that it was unable to grant
aid the project, and that the INTERREG funding which had been set aside for
this proposal was to be re-allocated to other projects in the region. On June
28th 2005, the Government noted the decision of the Minister not to progress
this project, and the INTERREG funding was re-allocated by the Regional
Implementation Body to new development projects in the North-West.
Further Study on Gas to the Northwest, including Donegal Town
The second element of the Gas to the Northwest project is the detailed
consideration of extending the network to Sligo via Ballina from the
Mayo/Galway pipeline. As construction has commenced on the Mayo-Galway
pipeline, DCMNR intends to shortly issue a Request for Tenders to conduct
this detailed study.
At the Minister’s direction, the Terms of Reference for the study have been
expanded to consider a network extension to Donegal Town via Sligo. In
order to ensure that all possible options for the provision of gas infrastructure
in the region are considered, the study will assess the potential for gas-fired
power generation at specified locations (including Donegal) along the
proposed pipeline route.
7.9.1 Letterkenny IT Post Graduate Diploma in Arts and Financial
LYIT has developed a Post Graduate Diploma in Arts and Financial Services
Technologies in collaboration with Pramerica Systems Ireland in Letterkenny
and Northbrook Technologies in Derry. LYIT requires additional funding of
circa €120,000 to purchase a mainframe platform to facilitate the launching of
the course in 2005.
In December 2005, the Department of Education and Science provided the
7.9.2 Financial Services Skills
A number of initiatives are being developed on the provision of skills at both
Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT) and IT Sligo that will help to
establish a cluster of financial services companies in the Northwest Region
and to develop the region as a credible financial services location.
Initiatives proposed by LYIT and IT Sligo include:
• The delivery of a suite of Financial Services programmes. IT Sligo has
prepared a degree programme incorporating professional accreditation
by the QFA Board, which will be offered in Autumn 2006. They have
also added modules to various courses and have created a financial
services stream within their 4 year Bachelor of Business Studies. The
college requires additional resources from Department of Education
and Science to launch and run these courses.
Both Sligo and Letterkenny Institutes require additional resources to develop
and obtain accreditation from the appropriate bodies, and to promote and run
the full suite of courses. Progress has been made but IDA believes greater
scale, increased breadth of curriculum and speedier delivery would greatly
enhance the prospects of success. The following measures are required:
• Increase the output of graduates on both Institutes (Sligo and
Letterkenny) in relevant courses
• Course content to be developed and tied in with the industry, e.g. case
study based, and specifically relevant to current and emerging needs.
• Computer and networking investments to support the course and
encourage participation by guest lecturers.
• Intensive conversion courses for business studies graduates, targeted
at funds management, insurance and pensions through the Life Long
Learning Centre in Sligo IT and LKIT.
• Promotion of careers in Financial Services at Secondary school level,
at teacher conferences and with career guidance teachers, so that
places are availed of.
Detailed costing are being prepared by the Institutes in conjunction with IDA
Ireland in relation to above to achieve this speedier delivery and these
costings will be available at an early date.
The Department of Education and Science will consider proposals to be
developed by LYIT and Sligo IT in consultation with IDA and EI. The
Department of Education and Science has indicated that it has no difficulty in
principle with such courses. If submitted for approval, they will be considered
in the normal manner as part of the annual programmes and budgets
submission from the Institutes as required under the RTC Acts.
When the Department of Education and Science receives the necessary
details and the Institutes have the necessary academic validation of the
proposed courses it will consider them sympathetically in the context of
available resources. In this regard, it will also consider any submissions the
IDA wishes to make in regard to the proposed courses.
Following consideration of any proposal in relation to the impact on staffing
numbers, it will be possible at that stage to identify whether the cap on staffing
numbers becomes an issue.
Proposals to be submitted to the Department of Education and Science
7.9.3 LYIT – Research Capacity
The capacity to support the research and development requirements of
knowledge and technology based business in a region is a key location
determinant for mobile investment. It also facilitates enterprise in developing
comparative advantage over competitors in the international marketplace.
Letterkenny Institute of Technology has already invested in two research
centres recently in Applied Marine Biotechnology and in an Electronic
Products Innovation Centre. In December 2005 the Minister for Education and
Science announced, approval of funding for the provision of a dedicated IT
based research space as part of the further implementation of the "Kelly
Report" recommendations that will support an increase in LYIT research
capacity. . Progression of this project is being examined within the
Department of Education & Science in consultation with LYIT.
7.9.4 LYIT – Campus Expansion
Following reports from her officials the Minister accepts that the campus at
LYIT is space constrained and that this constraint needs to be addressed in the
long term interest of third level provision in the area and the connect with
industrial development in particular.
The Department will proactively examine any solutions that the Institute may
propose in that regard. However no funds have been allocated for such
purposes in the Department’s multi-annual capital envelope.
7.10 Entrepreneurship Development
Given the high level of job losses in Donegal and the increasingly competitive
environment for mobile investment it is critical that more local entrepreneurs
emerge – especially in knowledge intensive areas and that the capabilities of
existing businesses are developed. Recent figures obtained from the BMW
Regional Assembly indicate that the level of company formation in Donegal (&
the wider North West Region – including Leitrim & Sligo) is less than half the
Notwithstanding the proactive approach taken by the development agencies
in Donegal over recent years more needs to be done to encourage
entrepreneurship and facilitate the creation of more new start-up businesses.
At a meeting with advisers and agencies of the Department of Enterprise,
Trade and Employment in Letterkenny in October 2005, it was agreed that
Donegal County Enterprise Board and Enterprise Ireland would submit a
paper on the promotion of Entrepreneurship in Donegal, including
'Entrepreneurship and Education'.
If Donegal is to more than double the number of start-ups to bring it up to the
national average, a sustained and targeted approach – over an initial 6 year
period - is required. It is proposed that Donegal County Enterprise Board will
focus on two key objectives as follows:
7.10.3 Objective 1: To provide ‘1 point of contact’ and general support
for anyone in Donegal seeking to start a business.
Over the past 2 years Donegal County Enterprise Board has delivered an
additional (to its existing) service aimed at proactively promoting the
availability of information for people looking to start and develop a business in
the county. Over 1,100 queries (801 individuals/317businesses) have been
generated and serviced to date representing significant local demand.
It is now proposed to further develop this Business Information Service of the
Board including positioning it as the initial point of contact in the county for
anyone seeking to start a business. The Business Information Service will
operate on behalf of all agencies and provide a seamless transfer for the
customer to the relevant service provider.
The Business Information Service will consist of the following elements:
• Further development of the library of business information publications,
books, research reports, appropriate registration forms, DVDs, learning
tools, and other stimuli provided to potential entrepreneurs or
companies looking at setting up or expanding in Donegal
• Promotion of a single low call number which anybody can ring to seek
support in starting up a new business in the county. A Business
Information Executive will deal with all enquiries through an online
tracking system and refer to other organisations as appropriate.
• Expansion of the BIS online services which consists of a dedicated
public internet access computer for market research with access to
local international database and the provision of an online question and
answer mentor type service with a 48 hour response time
• Publication of a range of additional business related publications on
various business topics and enterprise supports available in Donegal
and to businesses in general
• Expansion of the dedicated website which contains a wide array of
business information, resources for start ups and links to both other
private and public websites
• Implementation of an ongoing professional media campaign in
partnership with all agencies operating locally to publicise the Business
Information Service as widely as possible in the county through
substantial press and radio advertising. This advertising campaign will
also be used to promote the county as a location for mobile national
Projected additional cost over 6 years - €93,0000 per annum (includes
executive and overhead)
7.10.4 Objective 2. To deliver an ongoing programme to embed
enterprise and entrepreneurship within the second level schools in
Donegal and the county in general.
Donegal CEB has over the past twelve months piloted a new schools
programme in the county with funding from ADM/CPA under the Peace ll
Programme – Lets Do Business.
It is now proposed to undertake sustained proactive promotion and
implementation of the Let’s Do Business enterprise education programme
over the next six years.
To highlight the appetite for this activity, over 600 2nd level students & their
teachers from across Donegal attended a Let’s Do Business enterprise day in
September 2005 with several entrepreneurs including the Entrepreneur of the
Year Padraig O’Ceide, MD of Aer Arann.
This programme will consist of:
• Business simulation programme and competition on an annual basis to
second level schools
• Enterprise clubs linking students to business people and to workplace
• Student Enterprise Awards and Student Enterprise Day – at all
• Promotion of entrepreneurship to science and technical students
• Provision of teacher/lecturer entrepreneurship training with
• The provision of an online entrepreneurship training programme to
second level schools in the county
Having reviewed the proposals, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and
Employment is providing an annual €100,000 in 2006 and 2007 to meet the
costs of administering the initiatives including the employment of one
additional staff member. This is in addition to the existing Measure 2 funding
provided to Donegal CEB.
Chapter 8 - Decentralisation
The three areas in Donegal included in the Government’s Decentralisation
Plan are Buncrana, Donegal Town and Gaoth Dobhair. None of these areas
have been included in the first phase moves in the report Decentralisation
Implementation Group (DIG) to the Government in November 2004.
The Department of Social & Family Affairs - Client Eligibility Services is due to
move to Buncrana.
A total of 118 posts in the Department have been advertised on the Central
Applications Facility for Buncrana. Preparations are proceeding for the
construction of the office premises required and the indicative completion date
is early 2009.
The Department of Social & Family Affairs - General Benefits Section is due
to move to Donegal Town.
A total of 258 posts in the Department have been advertised on the Central
Applications Facility for Donegal Town. Preparations are proceeding for the
construction of the office premises required and the indicative completion date
is mid 2009.
The North/South Ministerial Council has agreed that 30 positions in Foras na
Gaeilge, established under the British-Irish Agreement Act, will be relocated to
Gaoth Dobhair, Co. Donegal. Foras na Gaeilge is currently preparing an
implementation plan which will include proposals in regard to the time scale
for the delivery of this objective.
Chapter 9 North/South Cooperation
It is clear from the work of the Interdepartmental Group that many of the
problems experienced by Donegal arise from its peripheral location and have
been exacerbated by the historic dislocation of the wider North West region of
the island of Ireland.
There is therefore huge untapped potential in developing the wider North
West region in co-operation with the Northern Ireland authorities and with
local authorities and other organisations on both sides of the border.
This finding is not new. Indeed it is reflected in many reports and studies over
the decades. The key challenge is to develop a new vision of the North West
region and to take the necessary practical steps over the next 5 years to
make this vision a reality.
9.1 A Unique Opportunity for North/South Co-operation
A unique opportunity now presents itself with the progress in the overall peace
process and, in particular, the agreement at senior political level to work
together to address the problems of the region on a North/South basis where
that is appropriate.
In November 2005 Minister for Foreign Affairs Ahern and Secretary of State
Hain agreed that the two Governments would work together to foster
economic growth in the North West and in particular to explore areas and
ways in which we can more closely co-operate. In December 2005, the
Government decided that “relevant Ministers will meet with NIO Ministers to
identify opportunities for North/South co-operation to foster economic
development in the North West.”
An important first step in this process was taken when senior officials from
both jurisdictions met in Belfast to discuss co-operation on the North West8.
The findings of this report are informing the Irish Government position in those
discussions. The discussions are also informed by studies in Northern
Ireland, such as the ILEX regeneration report for Derry City and the “North
West Economic Corridor Study” by North West Chambers of Commerce.
As the British-Irish Inter-Governmental Conference on 2 May 2006, the two
Governments committed to working together to explore ways in which they
could more closely co-operate to maximise the potential of the North-West
region. It was agreed that, within the context of the all-Ireland collaborative
spatial framework, a North West Gateway Initiative should also be established
to provide a co-ordinated, cross-border approach to the development of the
It was agreed (at the North’s request) that for this purpose the region comprises Co Donegal in the South and the District
Council areas of Derry, Strabane and Limavady in the North. The benefits of co-operation do of course spread more widely.
In tangent, a North-West Stakeholders Alliance is in place with representatives
from relevant Donegal and Derry local authorities, Government Departments,
Chambers of Commerce etc. to progress development in the region and work is
nearly complete on a North-West Data Capture Project to inform the process.
9.2 Developing a New Vision
Developing a new vision of the North West is a major undertaking.
It involves a new way of looking at all aspects of social and economic life in
the region. It may involve radical and innovative approaches by Government,
North and South. It will not happen overnight. But it is essential if the true
potential of the region is to be realised.
There is, however, much to build on. There are strong historic links between
different areas in the region, notably Derry and Donegal. There is good cross-
border co-operation between local authorities and other agencies. There are
key individual projects, such as the joint investment in City of Derry Airport.
At the macro level, the National Spatial Strategy (NSS) recognises Derry-
Letterkenny as one of the nine key Gateways. A key aspect in the analysis
underpinning the NSS is that:
- Strong attractive and well-functioning 'urban' structures (towns and
cities) are an essential element of successful regions
- Linkages between those cities and smaller towns and rural areas are
the basis for spreading benefits in the wider region
- The most efficient development of Ireland's regions will come from
building on existing strengths and managing them to complement each
This analysis also forms the rationale for seeking to develop the North West
region in an integrated fashion, with the -Letterkenny- Derry Gateway as a key
Based on initial discussions with the Northern administration, there is a good
degree of agreement on the key problems, challenges and opportunities that
face the region. Needless to say, much work remains to be done before
agreement might be reached on priorities or agreed actions.
It will also be very important to get buy-in from political leaders, institutions
and the community in the region. At the moment, there is a range of
competing voices and interests in the region. These tend to agree on what is
wrong but there is less of a consensus on what initiatives might be practical or
on priorities to be pursued.
There is also an absence of agreed integrated planning frameworks at local
level, (i.e. between local authorities, public institutions and other service
If a Vision is to have any practical meaning, these challenges will have to be
addressed locally as well as at Government level. A key element here would
be an endorsement and clear incentives from the two Governments for such
It will also be important to take into account the relationship between the
North West and other parts of the country, not least other parts of the Border-
Midlands-West Region and the Atlantic Corridor.
9.3 Key Areas for Co-operation
There is a range of areas where North/South co-operation can enhance the
prospects and quality of life for people on both sides of the border. These
- joint spatial planning and development
- infrastructure provision
- education, employability and skills
- regional and economic development
- other services
The Interdepartmental Group has analysed these opportunities and the
potential under each of these headings is set out below.
It is, of course, recognised that there may well be policy, financial or technical
constraints that apply to some of these ideas. Nevertheless, they form a solid
basis for future engagement on a North/South basis to bring a new vision of
the North West region to fruition.
9.4 Joint Spatial Planning and Development
It is imperative that the critical mass provided by Letterkenny/Derry is
exploited for the overall benefit of the wider region. When taken as a whole,
the region is of sufficient scale to facilitate sustainable economic development
and regional self-sufficiency in several areas.
The key challenge for the development of Letterkenny/Derry as a linked
Gateway is to gain agreement on an overall development framework by the
relevant local authorities and government Departments in the Republic of
Ireland and Northern Ireland. A framework should encompass approval and
funding mechanisms, coordination of public services and involvement of the
A Gateways Investment Priorities Study, jointly commissioned by the
Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and Forfás,
has examined the Letterkenny-Derry Gateway. It shows that the cross border
element constitutes both an opportunity and a set of challenges for the
Letterkenny/Derry Gateway. It identifies potential for extensive synergies
between Letterkenny and Derry including an integrated approach to the
provision of physical and social infrastructure. These synergies need to be
While Donegal County Council has recognised in its draft development plan,
the need to plan for the joint development of the Letterkenny-Derry economic
corridor, there is as yet, no formal integrated development framework for the
Letterkenny/Derry development on a cross border basis.
9.5 Linking the National Spatial Strategy and the Regional
Development Strategy (NI)
Work is currently nearing completion on a joint framework for collaboration on
spatial planning that will reflect the South’s National Spatial Strategy and the
North’s Regional Development Strategy. The North West region will be a key
component of that framework, especially given the importance of the
Letterkenny-Derry linked Gateway.
When that work is completed in Autumn 2006, it will be important to address
the question of how a planning framework at a gateway level can be jointly
developed to underpin the NSS/RDS framework.
The responsibility for developing such a framework would fall to local
authorities in the first instance, with the support of the relevant government
Departments. For it to be truly effective, it would also have to involve joined-
up analysis and planning by service providers on both sides of the border.
9.6 Infrastructure Provision
Many of the following infrastructural issues have been referred to previously in
this report in the overall ‘Co Donegal’ context but are being addressed here
with a specific ‘Cross Border’ focus.
9.6.1 Roads (short-term and medium-term)
Letterkenny is located on national primary routes N13/N15 to Sligo, the N14 to
Lifford and the N13/A2 to Derry. Local internal access to Letterkenny is
improving through investment in the N56 ‘Mountaintop to Illistrim’ (completion
In the shorter term investments at congestion black-spots on the main
approaches to Letterkenny from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland
on the A5, N14 (Derry/Dublin route) and the A2/N13 link (north of Derry City)
A well developed road infrastructure involving both Letterkenny and Derry
would help address the relative physical isolation of Donegal. Of particular
importance are high quality links to Belfast and Dublin on the A5 and A6 roads
respectively. The extension of the M2, currently terminating in Toome, to
Derry City and the M3 planned to terminate in Kells, Co Meath to Derry (via
Cavan, Enniskillen and Omagh with improved links to Sligo and Letterkenny)
would also be of benefit.
Improved road connection to City of Derry Airport would provide greater
access both nationally and internationally.
The A5 Strabane to Lifford link is being developed by the Northern authorities
+-and Donegal County Council as part of a larger package of improvement
upgrading the N14/N15.
Under the Transport 21 plan there will be investments in inter-urban routes
between Dublin and Derry. Derry and the North West will also benefit from
substantial investment along the Atlantic Corridor.
Letterkenny is relatively distant from the main international airports at Belfast
and Dublin, and therefore the regional airport at Derry City plays an important
role. Improved road access is essential to allow for ease of mobility, both
nationally and internationally.
Development of the airport would impact positively on the whole of the North
West including Donegal and help to alleviate the problem of remoteness. In
March 2005 the two Governments announced a decision in principle to
provide over €15m funding to City of Derry Airport including for the long term
development of the airport. State Aid clearance for the proposed investment
was received from the EU Commission in May 2006.
Derry Airport is currently in the ownership of Derry City council. The Gateways
study suggests that this limits its potential to attract private investment to grow
the facility to become a viable regional airport on a scale similar to Cork.
The port at Derry has been identified by the Northern administration as an
important facility that can aid the development of the entire region. The new
deep-water facilities available at Killybegs Harbour Centre will complement
the Derry Port facilities.
The electricity supply network in Co Donegal, including Letterkenny, remains
There are no plans current at present for further interconnection between
Donegal and Derry. The planned interconnection which is being progressed
by EirGrid and NIE is a 400 kV line between Cavan and Tyrone. The new
interconnection would mean that more use could be made of the existing
Donegal to Derry 110 kV interconnection.
ESB National Grid, the transmission system operator, is currently progressing
plans for network reinforcement at 110kV in Donegal.
The Letterkenny Metropolitan Area Network, providing open access
broadband infrastructure, was commissioned in 2004. A further 6 MANs will
be in place in Co. Donegal by the end of 2007. Enhanced cross border
backhaul connectivity would provide additional resilience to these MANs.
Proposals are being developed with close cooperation between IDA Ireland
and Invest Northern Ireland to develop a Virtual Cross Border Technology
Park that will link business parks in Letterkenny and Derry, supported through
EU structural funds.
The question of the regional waste management infrastructure has been
raised in recent North/South discussions. It has been agreed to review the
current position as an initial step.
Improved capacity in water services through the acceleration of the Lough
Mourne Regional Scheme and temporary augmentation proposals, along with
sewage capacity increase, are underway or planned. (See Chapter 7.6.1 for
9.6.8 Quality of Life/Social and Cultural Infrastructure
Taking Letterkenny and Derry together, there is a wide range of social and
cultural infrastructure in the area. However, in the future, an integrated and
cross border approach to the harnessing and development of such
infrastructure is critical to ensure that it is available to all of the population.
9.7 Education, Employability and Skills
There is broad agreement, North and South, on the importance of addressing
skills needs, educational under-achievement and low qualification levels and
“brain drain” issues in the region. Co-operation between third level institutions
is clearly important in this regard.
In the border region as a whole, 25% of the workforce has completed 3rd level
education (9% in science), which is below the national average of 30%;
The Institute of Technology in Letterkenny has a student population of over
2,000 and is linked to the Institute of Technology, Sligo and the University of
Ulster’s Magee College in Derry. There are also links to other institutions in
The Institute has a key focus on business and engineering related studies and
is endeavouring to develop increased links with local industry. Although both
Letterkenny and Derry have third level colleges, the critical mass and capacity
is insufficient to compete for national R&D funding.
There is therefore potential to strengthen the linkages between Letterkenny
IOT and other third level institutions in the region, in particular Magee College
The third level institutions in the combined Letterkenny-Derry Gateway, jointly
with other key stakeholders (enterprise agencies, local authority, other state
bodies, business) need to formulate a shared innovation strategy for the
Gateway and for their respective roles within this.
9.8 Regional and Economic Development
Regional development can be underpinned by investment and North/South
co-operation in infrastructure, education and skills. There are also
opportunities to build on that through joint activities in the areas of industrial
development, promotion/marketing, developing key industries (e.g. financial
services, medical, tradeable services), tourism, spatial policy and developing
R&D and innovation.
The Interdepartmental Group considers that all of these areas should be
explored in discussions with the Northern authorities, including the possibility
of closer co-operation between Government Departments and agencies at
national as well as local level. This might include co-ordination of activities,
joint activities and strategies and sharing of resource, skills and expertise on a
cross border basis.
9.9 Other Services
It is also important to develop co-operation in other services. Work is
currently underway to assess the existing level of co-operation. Clearly,
health service provision is a particularly important area for co-operation.
9.10 Projects for Immediate Action on North/South Basis
While the key recommendation in this Chapter is for the development of a
new long-term vision for the North-West that would be implemented over a 5
year timeframe, the IDG has also indicated several projects that it believes
should be pursued on a North/South basis immediately.
- key road projects
- the development of City of Derry Airport, including improved access
- broadband links between Donegal and Derry
- improved energy infrastructure
- joint tourism initiatives
- the possibility of dedicated EU funding for the region under the
- joint spatial planning
Discussions with the Northern Ireland authorities at political and official level
should focus in the short term on advancing the key projects referred to
As part of developing a new vision for the region, the following should be
regarded as priorities:
- Agreement on the joint framework for spatial planning
- Agreement that local authorities on both sides of the border be
asked to develop an agreed local planning framework in light of that
- Agreement that over time any local planning framework should be
aligned, where appropriate, with other relevant service providers
- Consideration of the planning, infrastructure, education, skills and
industrial development needs for the region on a North/South basis
- consideration of opportunities for improved services in areas such
as health and education through North/South co-operation between
statutory agencies and other institutions
- Identification of opportunities in all of policy areas for joint work
between North and South
These discussions will also take place in the wider context of North/South co-
operation and current policy initiatives in the South, notably the preparation of
the new National Development Plan.
Members of the Interdepartmental Group Appendix 1
Chair, Sean Gorman, Enterprise, Trade & Employment
Ronnie Sheehan Enterprise, Trade & Employment
Christy Mannion Special Adviser to Minister Martin
Frank Fox Education & Science
Martin Fraser Taoiseach
Finian Matthews Environment, Heritage & Local Government
(Replaced by Brian Kenny)
Christy McDonagh Social & Family Affairs
Kieran Sheedy Arts, Sports & Tourism
(Replaced by Donal Hannigan)
Peadar Ward Communications, Marine &Natural
(Repaced by Evelyn o’ Connor) Finance
Joe Hamill Community, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs
Jim Humphreys/Michael Harper Transport
Dermot Murphy , Min. Agriculture & Food
Seamus Chamberlain, Enterprise, Trade & Employment
Secretary to IDG.
Enterprise Ireland Programmes for Existing and New Client Groups
- Export Development
• First Flight Workshops are held to introduce First Time Exporters to
overseas markets and to assist clients with their export development
• Inward and Outward Trade Missions are held e.g. 10 US seafood
buyers visited 3 seafood companies in Donegal in April 2006 while 9
Japanese buyers visited Ireland in June 2005 to meet with 14 seafood
companies including 4 from Donegal and 2 US buyers visited four
Donegal companies in August 2005.
- Capability Development
• Building competitiveness has become a priority in the face of growing
international pressure. The Productivity Improvement Fund is designed
to assist Enterprise Ireland clients achieve greater competitiveness by
improving their export potential.
• In specific sectoral initiatives, EI have invested in seven Donegal
seafood processing companies under the NDP Seafood Processing
Development Programme during the period 2002-2004.
• ‘Design for Competitive Advantage’ workshops are held to provide
companies with the opportunity to engage with professional designers
to add value to their business and thereby generate more sales.
• eBusiness Workshops are held to promote eBusiness and to provide
support tools for client companies
- Research and Development
• EI supports the establishment of Campus Incubation Centres in the
Institutes of Technology to facilitate the spin out of research based
• The EI Applied Research Enhancement programme supports the
Institutes of Technology to develop specific research capabilities
• R & D Awareness workshops are held to encourage more SMEs to
develop Research and Development initiatives in their companies.
Entrepeneurship and start-ups
• The Enterprise Platform Programme is a rapid incubation programme
designed to provide hands-on support and management development
for entrepreneurs who wish to start their own business. In phase one,
which began in January 2004, five entrepreneurs with projects in the
medical device and software areas were supported by Enterprise
Ireland. Participants are based in the Business Development Centre,
Letterkenny IT and in the Business Innovation Centre, IT Sligo. Phase
II began in February 2005 and 8 participants have been approved
Enterprise Ireland funding.
• Enterprise Ireland has introduced a new programme called Enterprise
Start aimed at people who are considering a career move and would
like to learn more about starting their own enterprise. Those with a
business idea attend a series of 6 weekend sessions which will enable
them to decide the feasibility of setting up their own business.
• EI is working in co-operation with other bodies, notably the CEBs, An
tUdaras and Fás in establishing an entrepreneurship forum to co-
ordinate entrepreneurship support. In addition EI is working with Invest
Northern Ireland on the establishment of a cross border agenda on
Entrepreneurship. A proposal to develop a cross border Enterprise
Platform Programme is currently being discussed.
• Enterprise Ireland’s prospecting for entrepreneurs also includes co-
operation with Letterkenny Institute of Technology in the development
of an Alumni database with the objective of attracting interested and
experienced graduates back to the region.
Donegal County Enterprise Board – Activities and Services
Donegal County Enterprise Board engages in a range of activities to stimulate
enterprise in the county and provides a range of services in support of local
small and micro businesses in county Donegal. These include:
1. The provision of one-to-one business advice and guidance from
Executives of the Board to both individuals who may be considering
setting up in business to existing owner managers.
2. The provision of a comprehensive business information service to
individuals and businesses in the county through its Business
Information Service. This service is resourced by both a range of
current publications, periodicals, research journals and sector-specific
market information as well as a free on-line research facility.
3. The delivery of a range of support services to secondary schools in the
county with the overall objective of stimulating enterprise within the
students and encouraging schools to embrace enterprise as a part of
4. The development and delivery of a range of activities to highlight and
promote enterprise in the county such as the Enterprising Donegal
Week held in March 2005 to which over 1,100 individuals and business
attended, the production of a book and DVD featuring local small
business case studies and ongoing local press articles featuring local
5. The provision of functional training programmes to both owner
managers and their staff in such areas as Start Your Own Business,
financial management, computerised accounts, understanding
accounts, IT for small business, Visiontrack.
6. The provision of management development programmes to owner
managers and their staff - for example in 2005, Innovation Leadership,
Front Line Management, Health & Safety and Logistics.
7. The provision of grant aid to new and expanding micro businesses in
the county. Grant aid may be by way of Feasibility Study grants,
Capital grants, Employment grants, Repayable grants or Preference
8. The provision of one-to one Mentoring to small and micro businesses
through the Boards Mentor panel.
9. Developing and delivering a number of sector-specific development
programmes, such as the 315 regional food programme with the CEBs
in Sligo, Leitrim and Cavan, the eBusiness programme for Small
Businesses and the Women in Enterprise Programme. Most of these
programmes are developed with additional funding being accessed
from such programmes as INTERREG, Peace II, the IFI and the
10. Developing, engaging with and delivering on a range of cross-border
programmes with NI partner agencies in support of micro businesses.
These programmes are additional to supports from the Board and
examples of such programmes in 2005 are the Tradelinks programme
which involves all border CEBs and all Local Enterprise Agencies in NI,
the SPARK craft development programme with partners in Dungannon
& South Tyrone, the i2 sales programme with TEDI, Omagh, the Green
Entrepreneurs Programme with Lisburn District Council, the Female
Business Incubation programme in partnership with Roe Valley
Enterprises in Limavady as well as the all-island Microtrade
programme. Again these programmes are resourced through
applications to other funding sources.
In 2005 the following outputs under these activities were achieved by the
1. 25 projects were approved for grant aid - 11 capital grant, 6
employmnet grants and 7 feasibility grants. Of the projects approved
11 were new start-ups with four projects having the potential to become
HPSUs. Four of the feasibility study approvals were to promoters who
participated on the Boards Visiontrack programme - a programme
aimed at assisting promoters develop projects based on new
knowledge/technologies. An anticipated 80 new jobs will result from the
2. Some 270 individuals/owner manager were met by executives of the
Board during the year and provided with one-to one advice and
3. 497 contacts were received and responded to through the Business
Information Service of the Board during the year. Some of these
contacts would have been prior to one-to-one meetings with CEB
4. 20 of the 25 secondary schools in the county participated on the
Boards Schools Enterprise Programme “Lets do Business”. A total of
702 students and 45 teachers participated on the programme.
5. 103 businesses/promoters were provided with one-to-one mentoring
during the year.
6. 427 participants took part in management development and training
programmes of the Board- 63 on management development
programmes and 364 on training programmes.
7. The programme ran three sector specific programmes during the year-
the SPARK craft programme with 34 local craft members, the 315
regional food programme with 15 Donegal businesses and eBusiness
with 55 participants.
8. The Board engaged on 9 cross border programmes during 2005 with
120 businesses/promoters engaging on these programmes during the
year. It is anticipated that while a number of these programmes
concluded in 2005 that the Board will be involved in a number of new
and additional cross-border programmes in 2006/2007.
Department of Education and Science
Giving Children an Even Break Programme – Participating Primary Schools in
School Name Address
S N Naomh Padraig Drumfries P O
Lower Illies N S Illies Ballymangan P O
Ardara Mixed N S Ardara
S N Caiseal Na Gcorr Gort A Choirce
Scoil An Aingil ChoimheadaAn Cheididh
Scoil Naomh Cholmcille Oilean Thorai
Comhscoil Chonmha S N Convoy
Monreagh N S Monreagh
Browneknowe N S Brownknowe
S N An Iorball Riabaigh Baile Ui Ghormain
Rockfield N S Rockfield Ballyshannon
St Francis Ns Barnesmore
Glenmaquin No 2 N S Knockbrack
Kilbarron N S Kilbarron
S N Neill Mor Killybegs
Scoil Naomh Fiachra Letterkenny
S N Chill Coinnigh Cill Choinnigh
Robertson N S Ballintra
Scoil Cholmcille An Tearmann
Scoil Mhuire B&C Doire Beaga
Scoil Cholmchille Malin
Murroe National School Murroe
Castlefin 1 B N S Castlefin
Ray N S Ray
Cashelshanaghan N S Ballymaleel P O
S N Na Sraithe Moire Min A Labain
Croaghross N S Portsalon
Gortnacart N S Gortnacart
St Muras N S Burnfoot
Rathmullen N S Rathmullen
Moville N S Moville
S N Naomh Naille Na Caologa
S N Leitir Mhic An Bhaird Leithbhearr
Sn Arainn Mhor I Arainn Mor
St Patrick’s N S Murlog
Scoil Naomh Treasa C Tiernasligo Clonmany
Drumfad N S Ballynashanagh P O
Raphoe Central N S Raphoe
S N Min Na Manrach An Clochan Liath
S N Dumhach Beag Dumhach Beag
Ballyheerin N S Ballyheerin
S N An Droim Mor An Droim Mor
S N Fhionntra Fintra
Frosses N S Frosses
Sn Arainn Mhor Ii Arainn Mhor
Inver N S Inver
St Davadogs N S Tamney
S N An Chillin An Cillin
Glentogher Con N S Carndonagh
Clonmany Mxd Ns Clonmaney
Bruckless N S Bruckless
St Patrick’s N S Lurgybrack
S N Glasain Craosloch
St Orans N S Buncrana
S N Gort An Choirce Leitir Ceanainn
Sn Baile Nua An Phobail Newtowncunningham
Clochar Padraig Naofa Carndonagh
Min A Ghabhann N S Lettermacaward
S N Loch An Iubhair Anagaire
Naomh Bridhid Glenmakee
S N Duchoraidh Duchoraidh
St Garvan's N.S. Drum Halla
Buncrana N S Buncrana
S N An Bhreacaigh Ard A Ratha
Scoil Naomh Colmchille Craigtown
S N Fothar Port Na Blaithche
S N Naomh Colmchille Drumoghill Ns
Scoil Phadraig Dobhar
S N Mhin Teineadh De Ard A Ratha
S N Naomh Colmchille Killmacrennan
Sn Naomh Samhthann Drumdoit
Dromcaoin Bealach Fheid Dromcaoin
Sn Eadan Fhionnfhaoich Na Gleannta
Scoil Naomh Dubhthach Machaire Ui Rabhartaigh
S N Na Gcluainte Clonmany
S N Domhnach Mor Castlefin
Scoil An Leinbh Iosa Killymard
Sn An Br M O Cleirigh Creevy
Scoil Roisin An Clochan Liath
S N Crannaighe Buidhe Crannog Bui
Scoil Cuilm Cille Ballindrait
S N Adhamhnain Luinneach
S N Ceathru Caol Kerrykeel
Scoil Bhrighde Porthall
S N Taodhbhog An Clochan
S N An Choimin Clochan
S N Gleann Coimhead Ballybofey
Sn An Leinbh Iosa Coxtown
S N Seiseadh Ui Neill Ballybofey
S N Fhionnain Baile Chonaill
St Riaghans Ns Drimnacrosh
Scoil Treasa Naofa Malainn
S N Talamh Na Coille Talamh Na Coille
Scoil Naomh Proinnseas Magherabeg
Scoil Bhrighde Min A Chladhaigh
Scoil Adhamhnain Rathbhoth
Sn Dhun Na Ngall The Glebe
Scoil Mhuire Pettigo
Scoil Naomh Chaitriona Ballyshannon
Scoil Cholmcille Naofa Ballylast
S N Olibhear Pluinceid Rann Na Feirste
S N Muire Gan Smal Clochar Loreto
Sn Muire Gan Smal Leithbhearr
Dunfanaghy N S Dunfanaghy
S N Naomh Eighneach Diseart Eighnigh
Scoil Mhuire Caiseal Ceanndroma
Scoil Naomh Peadar Mountcharles
S N Muire Gan Smal Ard Aratha
S N Mhuire Baile An Ngalloglach
Gleneely N S Gleann An Fhaoilidh
Sn Chonaill Machaire Chlochair
Scoil Naomh Cholmcille Drumman
S N Baile Mor Dunfanaghy Po
S N Rath Meallt Ramelton
S N Na Hacrai Ailt An Chorrain
S N Min An Aoire An Charraig
Scoil Mhuire An Craosloch
Sn Dun Ceannfhaolaidh Dun Ceannfhaolaidh
Scoil Naomh Mhuire Ceann Mhalanna
Naomh Adhamhnain Laghey Po
Scoil Mhuire Dristearnain
Scoil Phadraig Rath Seinche
Scoil Naomh Padraig Boys Carndonagh
S N Na Carraige Dun Na Ngall
Scoil Choilmcille Convent Road
S N An Chaiseal Gleann Cholmcille
S N Baile An Caislean Baile An Chaisleain
S N Baile An Bhailsig Baile An Bhailsigh
Sn Na Croise Naofa Dunfanaghy
Robertson N S Ballybofey P O
Scoil Cholmcille Dubhlin Riabach
Scoil Cholmcille Droim An Mhaoir
S N Beal Na Cruite Kincasslagh
Killygordan N S Killygordan
S N Donaigh Carndonagh
Craanford N S Craanford
Killaghtee N S Killaghtee
S N Naomh Brid Na Dunaibh
Portlean N S Kilmacrennan
S N Umlach Carrigart
S N Cholmcille Baile Na Finne
Scoil Naomh Brid Muff
Scoil Naomh Earnan Baile An Tsratha
Glenswilly N S Newmills
Dooish N S Ballybofey
S N Dhubhthaigh Anagaire
S N Naomh Aonghus Bridgend
S N Baile Raighin Letterkenny
Scoil Mhuire Rathmealltain
S N Naomh Baoithin Sc Naomh Baoithin
Dungloe Central Dungloe
Naomh Bodain Culdaff
Moyle N S Moyle Ns
St Macartans Central Bundoran
St Conals Narin
Scoil Mhuire Glenties
Scoil Mhuire B & C Stranorlar
Scoil Naomh Fionan Whitecastle
Scoil Iosagain Buncrana
Gaelscoil Adhamhnain Gleann Cearra
Scoil Eoghan Moville
Gaelscoil Na Gceithre MaistrBaile Dun Na Ngall
Gaelscoil Bhun Crannach Bun Crannach
Holy Family National SchooThe Rock
Department of Education and Science
Breaking the Cycle Pilot Project – Participating Primary Schools in Co. Donegal
Name & Address of School
St Joseph’s NS, Lower Illies, Buncrana, Co Donegal
Ardara Mxd NS, Ardara, Co Donegal.
Convoy Joint NS, Main Street, Convoy, Co Donegal
Urblereagh NS, Malin Head, Co Donegal
SN Chill Coinnigh, Glenties, Co Donegal
Croaghross NS, Portsalon, Letterkenny, Co Donegal
Scoil N. Treasa, Tiernasligo, Clonmany, Co Donegal
Scoil Choluim, Ballyherrin, Letterkenny, Co Donegal
St Davadogs NS, Tawney, Letterkenny, Co Donegal
Killian NS, Inver, Co Donegal
SN an Bhreacaigh, Ard a Ratha, Co Dhún na nGall
Craigtown NS, Carndonagh, Co Donegal
Mín Tine Dé NS, Ardara, Co Donegal
SN Colmchille, Killmacrennan, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal
St Patrick’s NS, Drumkeen, Ballybofey, Co Donegal
SN Na Golvainte, Clonmany, Co Donegal
SN Crannaigh Buidhe, Crannóg Buí, Ardara, Co Donegal
St Colmcille’s NS, Ballindrait, Lifford, Co Donegal
SN An Leinbh Iosa, Carrigans, Lifford, Co Donegal
Drumnacrosh NS, Kilraine PO, Co Donegal
Scoil Treasa Naofa, Malin, Lifford, Co Donegal
SN Proinnseas, Manorcunningham, Letterkenny, Co Donegal
St. Egney’s NS, Desertegney, Buncrana, Co Donegal
Scoil Mhuire, Leitir Ceanainn, Co Dhun na nGall
St. Mary’s NS, Ardara, Co Donegal
St. Colmcille’s NS, Drumman, Ramelton, Co Donegal
Dunkineely NS, Dunkineely, Co Donegal
St. Mary’s NS, Malin Head, Lifford, Co Donegal
St. Patrick's, Rasheney, Ballyliffin, Co Donegal
SN Chreamhghoirt, Cranford, Letterkenny, Co Donegal
Killaghtee NS, Dunkineely, Co Donegal
SN Naomh Brid, Na Dunaibh, Leitir Ceanainn, Co Dhún na nGall
Scoil Eoin Baiste, Carraig Airt, Leitir Ceanainn, Co. Dhún na nGall
St Boden’s NS, Culdaff, Lifford, Co Donegal
Department of Education and Science
Disadvantaged Primary Schools in Co. Donegal
Name & Address of School
Scoil Cholmcille, Malin, Lifford, Co. Donegal
St. Patrick's N.S., Murlog, Lifford, Co. Donegal
Clochar Pádraig Naofa, Carndonagh, Co. Donegal
Scoil Adhamhain, Rathboth, Leithbhearr, Co. Donegal
St. Patrick's Boys N.S., Carndonagh, Co. Donegal
Coiseal N.S., Glencolmcille, Co. Donegal
Scoil Cholmcille, Carrigart, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal
S.N. Naomh Aonghus, Bridgend, Lifford, Co. Donegal
St. Baithins, St. Johnstown, Lifford, Co. Donegal
SN. Chroine, Dungloe, Co. Donegal
St. Corthas NS., Kilcar, Co. Donegal
Sc. Mhuire NS., Glenties, Co. Donegal
Department of Education and Science
Disadvantaged Post-Primary Schools in Co. Donegal
School Name Address
Scoil Mhuire St. Oran's Road, Buncrana
Buncrana Vocational School, Crana Road, Buncrana,
An Ghairm Scoil, Baile Na Ngalloglach, Leitir Ceanainn,
An Ghairm Scoil, Rath Bhoth, Leifear,
St. Catherine's Vocational School, Killybegs,
St Columba's Comprehensive School, Glenties,
Royal And Prior School, Raphoe,
Community School, Carndonagh, Lifford,
The Rosses Community School, Dungloe, Donegal,
Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair, Doire Beag, Letterkenny,
Loretto Community School, Milford,
Ballyshannon Community School, Ballyshannon,
Department of Education and Science
DEIS - An Opportunity For More Effective Service Delivery To Children
And Young People From Disadvantaged Communities
The Department of Education & Science has launched DEIS (Delivering
Equality of Opportunity in Schools), the new action plan for educational
inclusion which provides for a standardised system for identifying levels of
disadvantage and a new integrated School Support Programme (SSP). The
Action Plan is the first integrated strategy for promoting equality of opportunity
that has been developed for 3 - 18 year olds in this country.
The motivation behind the plan is a desire to ensure that no-one is left behind,
that every child gets the supports that they need to reach their full potential
and that a culture of high expectations is at the centre of all our actions,
locally and nationally".
The Action Plan will build on the success of existing measures while tackling
the issues that have undermined their overall effectiveness
by putting in place an improved system for identifying levels of
disadvantage in our schools;
by establishing a single integrated programme of supports for young
people in schools with concentrated levels of disadvantage; and
by providing extra targeted support for those in the most disadvantaged
This action plan is designed to put in place all the extra supports that children
and young people from socially and economically disadvantaged areas need
to make the most of the opportunities available to them at school.
A key principle underlying the plan and particularly the focus on early
childhood education and literacy and numeracy measures is the principle of
early intervention. The Department must address educational difficulties
before they become entrenched.”
The key measures in the plan are as follows:
Additional investment of €40million per annum and 300 extra staff in the
education system upon full implementation;
A greater focus on early childhood education in disadvantaged areas;
Smaller classes for more children in disadvantaged areas;
Extra supports, both academic and non-academic, outside of school time;
An increased emphasis on developing our children's literacy and
More guidance counsellors in our disadvantaged second-level schools;
New measures to attract, support and retain the best teachers in our
Enhanced library facilities at second-level; and
Greater access to the alternative curricula, such as the Junior Cert
Schools Programme and Level Cert Applied.
Essentially, this new action plan will mean more support than ever before to
help children and young people, to involve parents and to support teachers in
disadvantaged areas- so that every child can reach their full potential.
Department of Education and Science
Home/School Community Liaison Scheme – Participating Primary & Post
Primary Schools in Co. Donegal.
Level of School
Primary St Aengus NS, Bridgend, Lifford, Co Donegal
Primary St Baithin’s, St Johnstown, Lifford, Co Donegal
Primary St Patrick’s BNS, Carndonagh, Co Donegal
Primary St Patrick’s GNS, Carndonagh, Co Donegal
Primary St Eunan’s NS, Raphoe, Co Donegal
Primary St Patrick’s NS, Murlog, Lifford, Co Donegal
Primary S.N. Chroine, Dungloe, Co. Donegal.
Primary Scoil Mhuire N.S.,Glenties, Co. Donegal.
Post-Primary Loreto Community School, Milford, Co Donegal
Post-Primary Pobal Scoil Ghaoth Dobhair, Na Doirí Beaga, Leitir Ceanainn,
Post-Primary Mulroy Cg, Milford
Post-Primary Coláiste Cholmcille, College St.,Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal.
Post-Primary Rosses Community School, Dungloe,Co. Donegal.
Post-Primary Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana, Co Donegal
Post-Primary Deele College, Raphoe, Co Donegal
Post-Primary St. Catherine’s Vocational School, Killybegs, Co. Donegal
Post-Primary Carndonagh Community School, Carndonagh, Co. Donegal
Post-Primary Magh Ene College, Bundoran, Co. Donegal
Post-Primary Crana College, Crana Road, Buncrana, Co.Donegal
Post-Primary St. Columba’s Comprehensive School, Glenties, Co. Donegal
Department of Education and Science
School Completion Programme – Participating Primary Schools in Co. Donegal
School Name Address
Scoil Cholmchille Malin
Clonmany Mxd Ns Clonmaney
Clochar Padraig Naofa Carndonagh
S N Na Gcluainte Clonmany
Scoil Phadraig Rath Seinche
Scoil Naomh Padraig Boys Carndonagh
St Patricks N S Murlog
Raphoe Central N S Raphoe
Sn Baile Nua An Phobail Newtowncunningham
Sn An Leinbh Iosa Coxtown
Scoil Adhamhnain Rathbhoth
Sn Muire Gan Smal Leithbhearr
Scoil Bhride Conmhagh
S N Naomh Baoithin Sc Naomh Baoithin
S N Naomh Padraig Drumfries P O
Lower Illies N S Illies Ballymangan P O
St Muras N S Burnfoot
St Orans N S Buncrana
Buncrana N S Buncrana
S N Naomh Eighneach Diseart Eighnigh
S N Naomh Aonghus Bridgend
Scoil Iosagain Buncrana
Castlefin 1 B N S Castlefin
S N An Droim Mor An Droim Mor
Dromcaoin Bealach Fheid Dromcaoin
S N Seiseadh Ui Neill Ballybofey
Dooish N S Ballybofey
Scoil Mhuire B & C Stranorlar
Department of Education and Science
School Completion Programme – Participating Post-Primary Schools in Co.
School Name School Address
Carndonagh Community School Carndonagh
Deele College Raphoe
Crana College Crana Road
Scoil Mhuire St. Oran's Road
Vocational School Main Street
St Columbas College Stranorlar
Department of Education and Science
Details of other initiatives to promote Educational Inclusion
Free Books Scheme
This scheme was introduced in recognition of the fact that due to financial
hardship some children may not be able to afford the books necessary to
engage with the education being provided. The Department operates a grant
scheme towards the cost of providing school textbooks for pupils from low-
income families in schools at first and second level.
Career Guidance and Counselling
The Department of Education & Science is committed to providing Career
Guidance and Counselling at post-primary level. The Department makes a
specific ex-quota allocation of teaching posts in respect of guidance to
schools in the second level system. For those schools in the Free Education
Scheme, the level of allocation ranges from 8 hours per week in the case of
schools with enrolments below 200 pupils to 44 hours per week (i.e. 2 whole-
time posts) in the case of schools with an enrolment of 1,000 pupils or more.
School Transport Scheme
The School Transport Scheme operated by Bus Eireann on behalf of the
Department of Education & Science provides a service each day of the school
year to some 4,550 primary and 5,900 post primary pupils in co. Donegal.
The Department also administers a scheme of grants, which applies in cases
where because of factors such as remote location it is not possible to provide
a school transport service.
Education for International Pupils
There are a number of initiatives designed to build an intercultural dimension
into education policy and to serve the needs of international children. Additional
teaching and non-pay resources are provided to schools at primary and second
level to cater for the needs of pupils for whom English is not the mother tongue.
For the current school year grant aid of €50,789.53 along with 7 wholetime
teachers were allocated to primary schools in Co. Donegal. A total of 5.57
Wholetime teacher equivalents were allocated to second level schools for this
The Department’s policy is that all school-going Traveller children should be
fully integrated into mainstream education services. There are a total of 7
additional Resource Teachers for Traveller children in primary schools in Co.
Donegal in the current school year. Traveller children attending schools also
attract special increased rates of capitation funding. At post primary level an
additional 1.5 teaching hours per traveller pupil per week is allowed to schools.
A visiting teacher in County Donegal consults with traveller families and advises
and assists them in arranging school placements for their children. She also
provides support at the pre-school, primary and post primary level.
Department of Education and Science
Entrepreneurship as an attitude of mind –--- Primary and Junior Cycle
Post Primary Education.
In the revised primary curricula, critical attention is being applied to the
development of core communication skills and literacy and numeracy,
fostering the skills and motivation for learning to learn, the ability and values
to make ethical judgements, and to use information and communication
technologies to enhance learning. A basic understanding of scientific
principles and methods, and a foundation of knowledge and concepts in the
domains of physics, chemistry and biology and botany, is also provided for.
This work is allied with promoting in children as sense of place, of learning
based on their own environment, and of appreciating the inter-relatedness
between their own community and the wider world, particularly in terms of
environment, economy, multiculturalism, ethical values and citizenship.
A key objective is to encourage children to be active agents in their own
learning, to engage in collaborative active learning, to develop high order
thinking skills, to be able to observe, collate and evaluate evidence, question,
summarise, analyse and interpret, and to develop problem solving skills. All
of these skills, allied with the development of competence in a second
language, form an important basis for lifelong learning, and for creating a
culture of enterprise.
These themes are carried though into post primary curricula and further
strengthened through the increasing emphasis on investigative approaches
and action learning.
2 An appropriate basket of skills to support lifelong learning
Major curricular reforms have been introduced since 1994/95 to strengthen
the vocational and technical dimension of senior cycle second level
programmes, to promote multi-skilling through the linking of related technical
and/or business subjects, allied with a continental language, ICT and a work
experience programme (LCVP) and through an applied approach which
encourages practical community based experiential learning. (LCA) This is in
keeping with the approach recommended in the Lisbon 2000 agenda to
ensure basic skills for all. The overall thrust of these reforms is to offer a
broadly based relevant education with a range of choices and levels to meet
diverse interests and needs, and to encourage as many students as possible
to remain in school to completion of upper second level education. The
Schools IT Initiative and the language initiatives also play an important role in
3. Encouragement of specific enterprise skills in senior cycle
second level education
The Transition Year Option, the Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme
and the Leaving Certificate Applied programmes all provide for action learning
approaches, community based learning, a strong focus on personal
development and teamwork, and a work experience programme. As part of
this approach mini-company activities are supported whereby students plan,
develop and manage a mini enterprise or organise a major event such as a
trade fair or fashion show. Teamwork, multi-disciplinary learning, interpersonal
and communications skills, planning, evaluation, and mastery of business
concepts are all part of this process. The Link Modules within the Leaving
Certificate Vocational Programme include a specific module on Enterprise
This provides for formal assessment of learning in this area, as do the Tasks
carried out by students under the Leaving Certificate Applied programme.
Overall, some 43,000 second level students engage in work experience each
year as part of these 3 programmes.
The objectives of the Enterprise Education Module within the LCVP are
“designed to give students the opportunity to meet enterprising people and
investigate business and community enterprises. As part of the modules,
students are encouraged to set up their own enterprise projects as vehicles of
learning. …Enterprise can be demonstrated in a variety of settings. For this
modules enterprise activity at home, in school, in the community and in
business are all equally valid expressions”. The general aims are to
encourage students to
“Become more aware of their personal aptitudes and strengths
Gain a greater appreciation of enterprise in action: at home, in school,
at work, and in the community
Set up and run their own projects as vehicles of learning
Develop organisational, communicative, decision-making and social
skills through their application in realistic situations
Appreciate the importance of enterprise and its value to the local
Interact with business and the community in order to acquire the
practical knowledge and skills to develop an enterprise
Experience working as part of a team.
Active learning approaches, planning, doing, de-briefing, evaluation and
recording are encouraged throughout. The units feature
Enterprise Skills – idea generation, risk assessment, problem solving,
teamwork, leadership and commitment
Local Business Enterprises – investigating a local business enterprise
Local Voluntary Organisations/Community Enterprises – investigating
how they are funded, organised and contribute to local development
An Enterprise Activity –putting the skills they have learned into practice
through planning, setting up, running and evaluating their own
The Leaving Certificate Business syllabus is designed to provide a clear
understanding of the role of enterprise and to develop in students a positive
and ethical attitude to enterprise in personal, business and public life. The
syllabus covers the relationships of people in a business environment,
handling conflict, identifying, marketing and starting a business, the domestic
and international environment, entrepreneurs and enterprise skills, and their
application to different situations.
4 Encouraging Education/Training Industry Links
As well as the emphasis on enterprise and work experience in the senior
cycle second level curricula, a variety of voluntary and other agencies have
been promoting links between schools and business, either in the form of
'Enterprise' schemes (such as Junior Achievement, Youth Enterprise Ireland,
or Young Entrepreneurs) or, targeting young people in disadvantaged areas,
the Stay at School Retention Initiative (SSRI), a number of the Area
Partnerships and Business in the Community - Ireland.
A national IBEC Business Education Links Scheme has been developed to
strengthen the links between businesses and second level schools to provide
students with 'learning experiences that prepare them to play and active role
in the world of work and enterprise. The key elements of the programme are
- participation of students on company induction programmes
- focused business visits
- mini-enterprise support
- demonstrations showing how learning in school is applicable in
- in-company placement for teachers.
IBEC’s Business Education Links Scheme has been discontinued on the
basis that the links developed locally between schools and companies are
now self sustaining without the need for IBEC’s centralised support and
involvement, and the Business in the Community Schools Business
Partnership Programme operating with the School Completion Programme
does similar work, concentrating on schools serving disadvantaged
communities. This work is also supported extensively through the County
Enterprise Boards and chambers of commerce.
Department of Education and Science
Education Equality Initiative
The Educational Equality Initiative (EEI) was established in 2000 to address
educational disadvantage. The EEI aims to promote education equality for
adults by funding projects that address educational disadvantage. The
Initiative is funded through the Further Education section of the Department of
Education and Science, under the National Development Plan (NDP) 2000-
EEI Phase 2 (2004 – 2006) Following applications for funding under EEI
Phase 2, the Working Group examined 97 applications, that had been
received as a result of a national advertisement, and submitted 10 projects to
the Minister for Education and Science for his approval.
EEI 2 will assist projects that aim to promote educational equality among
adults through one or more of the following actions:
Addressing gaps in the provision of education and training for
educationally disadvantaged adults;
Building local capacity to respond to educational inequality;
Developing models of work which promote partnership between statutory
and voluntary agencies to promote educational equality;
Developing innovative approaches to outreach.
Developing innovative approaches to teaching and learning;
Developing innovative approaches to accreditation;
Developing local learning support structures;
Facilitating progression of the identified target groups;
Developing models of good practice for mainstreaming learning about how
to address educational inequality. The mainstreaming should relate to
policy and practice at organisational, sectoral, local and/or national levels.
Co. Donegal – Youth Affairs Provision
The Youth Affairs Section of the Department of Education and Science is
concerned with the personal and social development of young people, outside
of, but complementary to, the formal education system. It places particular
emphasis on the youth work needs of young people between the ages of 10
and 21 who experience social or economic disadvantage. Support is provided
by way of financial and other assistance to those providing youth work
programmes and youth work services.
Youth Service Grant Scheme
31 national and major voluntary youth work organisations are currently in
receipt of grant-in-aid under the terms of the Youth Service Grant Scheme
where funding is made available to ensure the emergence, promotion, growth
and development of youth organisations with distinctive philosophies and
programmes aimed at the social education of young people. These
organisations are concerned with the personal, social, recreational, cultural
and spiritual development of young people and aim to develop and implement
youth education programmes that are complementary to the home, school
Funding is provided to the national office of organisations in receipt of funds
under the Youth Service Grant Scheme. 14 of these organisations are active
in the Donegal area, and are listed below.
National Youth Work Organisations Active in Co. Donegal
1 Catholic Guides of Ireland
2 ECO-UNESCO Clubs
4 The Girls Brigade
5 Girls Friendly Society
6 Irish Girl Guides
7 DYCW Irish Methodists
8 Macra na Feirme
9 National Association of Youth Drama
10 National Federation of Arch Clubs
12 Presbyterian Youth
13 Scouting Ireland
Special Projects for Youth Scheme - SPY
Under this Scheme, priority is given to specific projects catering for the needs
of marginalised young people in disadvantaged areas. In general, projects are
located in areas with high levels of social deprivation, poverty, unemployment,
a high youth population and a history of early school leaving. The grant-aided
youth work initiatives aim to facilitate the personal and social development of
participants to realise their potential and in particular to equip them with the
knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for their appropriate integration in
society. In addition, they present opportunities for young people to undertake
actions corresponding to their own aspirations and to assume responsibilities
within their local communities. This Scheme is operated by the Vocational
Education Committees on behalf of Youth Affairs Section.
There are three (3) Special Projects funded under the Special Projects for
Youth Scheme (SPY) in the Donegal area. These projects operated under the
aegis of Youth Work Ireland (formerly the National Youth Federation) and Co.
Donegal VEC offer a wide range of programmes and services aimed at young
people most at risk of early school leaving, low educational achievement and
social isolation. Funding will amount to €183,554 in 2006.
Project Administering Agency 2006
Donegal Youth Development National Youth €53,743
Foróige Youth Development Co. Donegal VEC €33,211
Daybreak Youth Programme 1. Co. Donegal VEC €96,600
Youth Information Centres (YICs)
The network of Youth Information Centres is funded under a scheme
administered by the Youth Affairs Section of the Department of Education and
Science. These Centres provide a free, confidential information service to
young people and those who work with them including parents, teachers,
youth workers and social workers on a wide range of topics including
information on employment and training, accommodation, health, rights and
Donegal/Letterkenny Youth Information Centre will receive grant aid of
€334,168 in 2006.
Youth Information Centre Administering Agency 2006 Grant
Donegal/ Letterkenny YICs Co. Donegal VEC €334,168
Local Youth Club Grant Scheme
The Local Youth Club Grant Scheme was introduced in 1999. The scheme
aims to make provision for the support of youth work activities at a local level.
These grants are made available to Youth Clubs and Groups through the local
Vocational Educational Committee. While the scheme is open to all those
involved in the provision of youth work services at a local level, it is intended
that disadvantaged and marginal groups will be the priority targets (with
further priority being given to young people between the ages of 10 and 24
Funding for sporting clubs is available from the Department of Arts, Sport and
Tourism, under the Sports for Young People Grant Scheme. Sports Clubs are
not eligible for funding under the terms of this scheme.
This scheme encompasses a number of grants that can be grouped under
1. Youth Grants: Designed to aid the ongoing costs of youth clubs
2. Special Youth Grants: These grants are once off in nature and
intended to aid special youth work initiatives, particularly those aimed
at disadvantaged young people.
Co. Donegal VEC 2006 Grant
Goals of Lifelong Learning Forum established by Donegal
County Development Board
Goal A. To guarantee the provision of co-ordinated, appropriate, quality
learning opportunities in the County in response to defined needs
A.1 To work in a co-ordinated manner to define learning and progression
needs in the county, particular with regard to:
Community development/rural development/local development
Additional learning needs
A2 To work in a co-ordinated manner in response to these needs. e.g.
Forma [/informal education
e. learning / I.T.
Outreach education and training
A.3 To make better use of existing infrastructure and to respond to gaps in
A.4 To develop links between Lifelong Learning and other sectors in the county
e.g. Indigenous Enterprise, Health, Culture. Social Inclusion
Goal B. To remove barriers which hinder equal access to
participation in, and outcome from learning opportunities
B.1 To provide relevant learning opportunities in a manner which suits the learner and which is
conducive to continued participation, specifically addressing the following:
Affordable (cost does not exclude anyone}
Information (e.g. guidance and counselling)
B.2 To foster a learning culture in Donegal.
B.3 To develop specific access initiatives with respect to those who have little interest in learning or
no culture of learning.
B.4 To build on the existing guidance programmes to create an integrated guidance service in the
B.5 To acknowledge all learning forms e.g. accredited and non-accredited.
B.6 To promote the implementation of relevant National policies in the delivery of the Strategy.
B.7 To highlight the need for a county-based education authority under the auspices of the Department
ASSISTANCE FOR STUDENTS TO AVAIL OF THIRD LEVEL EDUCATION
Special Rates of Maintenance Grant for Disadvantaged Students: -
ESF-aided Special Rates of Maintenance Grant usually referred to as ‘top-up’
grants, payable to disadvantaged grant holders, were introduced with effect
from the 2000/01 academic year. Where a student is already in receipt of a
grant under one of the existing maintenance grant schemes, s/he may apply to
the relevant local authority or VEC for the special rate of grant. A total of
€1,933,239 was allocated to Co. Donegal VEC for this purpose for the 2004/05
Following a review of the operation of the special rates of grant, the Minister, in
July 2002, increased the annual income threshold for the special rates by 32%,
a significant increase.
For 2005/06, the special rate of grant has also been increased to: -
€5,355 for students residing more than 15 miles from college and
€2,145 for students resident within 15 miles of college.
This is equivalent to a “top-up” of €2,335 and €935 respectively, for eligible
students, on the ordinary maintenance grant.
In addition to the maintenance grant schemes, other supports are available
The Millennium Partnership Fund for Disadvantage
The Fund supports students from disadvantaged areas attending further or
higher education courses. Partnership Companies and Community Groups
manage the fund locally. A total of €92,040 was allocated in respect of
students in Co. Donegal in 2005.
The Student Assistance Fund (for Approved Third Level Institutions)
This Fund assists students who, having commenced a third-level course,
experience financial hardship and, therefore, may be unable to continue their
third-level studies. Applications for funding should be made by the individual
student to the Access/Disability officer in their institution. The Fund is
administered on a confidential, discretionary basis. A total of €88,416 was
administered in Co. Donegal in 2005.
The Fund for Students with Disabilities
This Fund provides grants for students who have serious sensory, physical,
learning and/or communicative disabilities. The aim is to provide those
students with assistance and/or equipment to enable them to pursue and
complete their course of study. A total of €182,119 was administered in
respect of students in Co. Donegal 2005.
Donegal Water Services Investment Programme 2005 to 2007
Schemes at Construction W/S Est. Cost.
Fanad Water Supply Scheme
Stage 1 (Pipelines) W €4,200,000
Letterkenny Sewerage Scheme (G) S €29,210,000
Donegal Bay Waste Water Management
Scheme - Group A (DBO Contract -
incorporating part of Donegal, Ballyshannon
and Rossnowlagh Sewerage Schemes) S €27,000,000
Schemes to start 2006
Ballyshannon Sewerage Scheme S €4,900,000
Ballyshannon Water Supply Scheme W €19,400,000
Bundoran Sewerage Scheme S €27,600,000
Burtonport Sewerage Scheme S €3,600,000
Desertegney Water Supply Scheme
Stage 1 - Contract W €830,000
Fanad Water Supply Scheme - Stage 2 W €9,800,000
Gweedore Sewerage Scheme S €25,200,000
Killybegs Sewerage Scheme S €17,500,000
Killybegs Water Scheme - (Sludge Handling) W €663,000
Letterkenny Water Supply (G) W €4,600,000
Lough Mourne/Letterkenny Water Supply
Scheme (G) W €41,000,000
Rossnowlagh Sewerage Scheme S €4,400,000
Schemes to start 2007
Dungloe Sewerage Scheme S €4,000,000
Falcarragh Sewerage Scheme S €3,500,000
Glencolmcille Sewerage Scheme S €3,300,000
Glenties Sewerage Scheme S €4,300,000
Gortahork/Falcarragh Water Supply Scheme W €3,300,000
Inishowen Sludge Centre S €1,100,000
Laghey Sewerage Scheme S €1,500,000
Moville/Greencastle Sewerage Scheme S €9,000,000
Rathmullan Sewerage Scheme S €3,300,000
Serviced Land Initiative
Ballybofey Sewer and Water Extensions W/S €226,000
Ballymacarry Lower Sewerage Scheme S €109,000
Bridgend Sewerage (G) S €648,000
Bundoran Sewerage Scheme - Brandra
Extension S €130,000
Church Rd Watermains Improvement W €515,000
Convoy WWT Upgrade S €130,000
W/S Est. Cost.
Downings Wastewater Treatment -
Facilities Upgrade S €195,000
Drumrooske Water Supply W €104,000
Glencar Sewer Network Upgrade S €65,000
Kilmnacrennan Wastewater Treatment
Upgrade S €104,000
Letterkenny Sewerage Scheme -
Sallaghagrane Ext (G) S €453,000
Lifford Sewerage Scheme - IDA Lands
Extension S €91,000
Miltown Sewerage Scheme S €171,000
St Johnston Sewerage Treatment S €323,000
Rural Towns & Villages Initiative
Ardara Sewerage Scheme S €4,500,000
Malin Town Sewerage Scheme S €1,630,000
Lagan Water Supply - Phase 3 W €635,000
Schemes to Advance through Planning
Ballybofey/Stranorlar Sewerage Scheme S €4,100,000
Buncrana Sewerage Scheme S €4,800,000
Carrigart Sewerage Scheme S €1,370,000
Castlefin Sewerage Scheme S €1,630,000
Convoy Sewerage Scheme S €1,120,000
Cranford Regional Water Supply Scheme W €5,100,000
Dunfanaghy/Portnablagh Sewerage Scheme S €1,630,000
Dunkineeley Sewerage Schemes S €1,940,000
Frosses/ Mountcharles/ Inver Water
Supply Schemes S €3,500,000
Kilcar Sewerage Scheme S €1,630,000
Lettermacaward Regional Water
Supply Scheme W €4,280,000
Lifford Sewerage Scheme S €1,730,000
Milford Sewerage Scheme S €2,000,000
Ramelton Sewerage Scheme S €918,000
Rosses Regional Water Supply Scheme W €3,270,000
Water Conservation Allocation €25,253,000
Asset Management Study €120,000
North South SHARE (WFD) Project €1 7,500,000
Programme Total €335,123,000
(G) Refers to a Gateway as designated in the National Spatial Strategy
1 This project is being led by Donegal County Council on behalf of the other
authorities in the SHARE Project
THE ARTS AND SPORT
• Letterkenny Arts Centre is a municipal arts centre (directly operated by Donegal
County Council), specialising in visual arts, film, music, creative writing,
education and outreach. Based in the Central Library building, Letterkenny Arts
Centre also runs events in other venues throughout Donegal County and is
developing a major new ACCESS -funded regional cultural centre (galleries,
workshops, digital media, cinema/studio theatre), which is due to open in 2006.
Letterkenny Arts Centre was offered €225k in revenue funding from the Arts
Council for 2006. It received €200k in 2005.
• An Grianán (also in Letterkenny) is a CDIS funded 350-seat theatre that was
initiated by Donegal County Council, but is now an independent company with
Donegal County Council representation on the board. An Grianán was offered
€161k in revenue funding from the Arts Council for 2006. It received €146,241 in
Donegal has a number of independent arts venues, artist-run venues and community
venues that have a significant arts use, many of which have received (or have been
offered) revenue funding by the Arts Council. Venues in the north of the county
• Clo Ceardlann na gCnoc in Gweedore (received €105k in 2005, offered €90k for
• Poets' House in Falcarragh (received €10k in 2005),
• Ceardlann na gCroisbhealach gallery in Fulcarragh (received €44,478 in 2005,
offered €42k for 2006)
• Balor Theatre (including Balor Developmental Community Arts) in Ballybofey
(offered €60k for 2006)
• Glebe House and Gallery Churchill (OPW-run, home of Derek Hill collection).
There are a number of arts organisations/events that employ full-time staff and
operate year round including: Earagail Arts Festival, Artlink Ltd (received €77,287 in
revenue funding in 2005, offered €110k for 2006) and Balor DCA. Other Arts
Council funded projects in the north of the county include: North 55, Inishowen
Carnival Group, Tionscnamh Lugh (Tir Chonaill), Samhain International Poetry
Festival in Gortahork and Scoil Gheimhridh Frankie Kennedy (Gweedore).
• Greencastle Maritime Museum (Inishowen): A grant of €95,230 was awarded in
2001 under the ACCESS scheme to Inishowen Maritime Heritage Company Ltd to
carry out a number of small improvements necessary to alter the standard for
accretion by the Heritage Council. The improvements included the provision of
exhibition boards, a labelling system, lighting etc. This is an NDP sponsored
project. The refurbished Museum was officially opened by the Minister in
• Arts Centre, Letterkenny (Northwest Donegal): A grant of €2,539,476 was
awarded in 2001 under the ACCESS scheme to build a purpose designed multi-
disciplinary Arts Centre adjacent to An Grianán Theatre which was funded under
CDIS. It consists of two gallery spaces, a studio theatre/cinema and three multi
purpose workshop spaces. The project promoter is Donegal County Council. Work
commenced on the project in 2005 and an instalment of the grant will be paid
when a legal agreement is in place.
• Killybegs Maritime Museum: A grant of €320,000 was given to this project in
2001 towards the provision of a performance venue for the visual and performing
arts, with a conference and exhibition centre, craft units, maritime heritage facility
and licensed restaurant. This grant has not been paid yet
The following 2 features were recently filmed on location Donegal with Film Board
• Dead Long Enough had a budget of €1.38M (got 300K in IFB production
• 48 Angels had a budget of €895K (got 525K in IFB production funding).
Each received €125K in IFB Regional Support funding.
• Bord Scannán na hÉireann/The Irish Film Board in association with Screen
Producers Ireland are supporting a series of Post-screening discussion sessions
between visiting international filmmakers and Irish producers and directors at the
inaugural Guth Gafa (Captive Voice Documentary Film Festival which will take
place in Gortahork, County Donegal between the 18th and 21st May 2006.
The national lottery-funded sports capital programme, which is administered by the
Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism, allocates funding to sporting and community
organisations at local, regional and national level throughout the country towards the
provision of sport and recreational facilities. Between 1998 and 2005, sporting and
community organisations in Co Donegal were allocated €21,656,295 under the
Programme (including €152,000 in top-up funding from the Department of
Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs). This represents 5.4% of all funding
allocated countrywide under the Programme over this period and is above the average
given that Donegal has 3.5% of the country's population.
Between September 2005 and end-April 2006, payments amounting to almost €3.17
million were made to sporting and community organisations in Co Donegal under the
Sports Capital Programme towards the development of capital sporting facilities and
the purchase of sports equipment, which represents a significant investment in the
sporting infrastructure of Co Donegal since September 2005.
LOCAL AUTHORITY SWIMMING POOL PROGRAMME
Donegal– May 2006
Three swimming pool projects are making progress under the programme as follows:
Grant aid of €3.8m was approved in December 2004 under the local authority
swimming pool programme towards the swimming pool in Letterkenny. The
project is a large integrated regional sports centre on a 20 acre site incorporating a
replacement Local Authority swimming pool, substantial indoor sports/gym
facilities, full size soccer/rugby/GAA pitch surrounded by athletics track,
associated facilities and all-weather floodlit areas. It is beside St. Eunan's GAA
The construction of the indoor facilities is well underway with €3.6m. of the Local
Authority swimming pool grant drawn down and €2.4m. (95%) of the Sports
Capital Programme grant drawn down. Completion is expected at year-end with
the formal opening early in 2007. The facility is to include a pool and a large
multi use sports hall.
The Council would hope that construction of the outdoor facilities would
commence immediately construction of the indoor facilities has been completed
(an additional grant application of €1m. was applied for under the 2006 round of
the Sports Capital programme and was unsuccessful on that occasion).
While the project is within the Pool Programme, a Preliminary Report has not yet
been prepared, primarily because the Council has not found a way of bridging the
gap between the grant amount and total construction cost.
In addition, the project has been linked with a possible move by Finn Harps from
Ballybofey to a new location in Stranorlar beside the Finn Valley Athletic Club.
Finn Harps Trustees recently agreed to the move to Stranorlar and Planning
Permission is in place for a new soccer stadium on Council grounds adjacent to
the Athletic Club.
It is understood that the GAA County Board wish to develop a GAA School of
Excellence with centralised training facilities in the county. One of the locations
they are considering is at the Finn Valley Athletic Club in Stranorlar where an
existing football pitch and astro training pitches are in place. The County GAA
pitch is located in Ballybofey.
Accordingly Council officials believe that a sports campus type project could be
emerging in Stranorlar and are focusing on this idea. The intent is the swimming
pool would be located within the Athletic Club complex, leading to a synergy of
facilities and resources. Negotiations in this regard are on going at present.
The Preliminary Report for the refurbishment of the swimming pool in Buncrana
was approved in April 2005. The Contract Documents are being prepared by the
local authority. Tender approval is expected before the end of the year.