No firm guarantees of EU support for Dell workers

23 Jan 2009

The Minister for Labour Affairs has held “detailed discussions” with the European Commission about invoking support under the €500m European Globalisation Fund to help the workers affected by Dell’s imminent departure from Limerick get back on their feet.

Minister Billy Kelleher TD has had a meeting with the European Commissioner responsible for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Vladimr Spidla, during a European Council meeting in the Czech Republic.

“The key task of the European Globalisation Fund is to assist in addressing economic dislocation and its impact on local, regional and national economies,” Minister Kelleher said.

“The scale of redundancies in Dell, and more widely in the mid-west region, has brought such economic dislocation to that area and particularly to Limerick.

“In this context our discussions were timely and, hopefully, will inform plans that will materially improve the prospects of redundant Dell workers and others under threat of loosing their jobs,” Kelleher said.

Minister Kelleher added that Commissioner Spidla has already committed to do his utmost to ensure that the resources of the European Globalisation Fund – with a budget at present of up to €500m each year – contribute to improving the job prospects and other opportunities open to Dell workers.

The European Globalisation Fund is a resource that provides labour intervention support directly to workers and is in addition to, the hundreds of millions of euro that are already committed to Ireland from the European Social Fund up to 2013 and afterwards.

The fund operates by contributing funds to the Irish Government’s specific labour market interventions, including assistance with advice guidance, job searching, mobility supports and training for the workers affected.

“While there are no guarantees of a successful application under the scheme, the Irish Government is strongly pressing the case for the mid-west region and we are encouraged by the initial response of the Commission in that regard.

“I also took the opportunity to acknowledge to Commissioner Spidla the fact that since our accession to the European Community in 1973, the European Social Fund has supported training and education programmes to the tune of about €5bn, which has given learning and advancement opportunities that have over the decades been eagerly grasped by hundreds of thousands of our people,” Kelleher said.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years