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WDC publish new Industry report for Donegal 27.02.19

THE Western Development Commission (WDC) has published a new report analysing employment data for Industry in Donegal. Industry includes mining, utilities and waste management but by far the largest element is manufacturing. While Industry has fallen, there has been a shift to higher value activities with the highest share working in Energy in the region.
In 1996, Industry accounted for 26.8% of total employment in county Donegal. The loss of large scale clothing manufacturers and strong growth in services meant Industry’s relative position declined. By 2016, only 9.2% of all employment in Donegal was in Industry, the lowest share in Ireland outside of Dublin.
The actual number of Donegal residents working in Industry halved from 10,670 in 1996 to 5,359 twenty years later. The decline was even more dramatic for women with a 75% fall in the number of women working in Industry in Donegal. At present, 77.1% of those working in Industry in the county are men.
Agri-food is Donegal’s largest Industry sector.
Over a quarter of total industrial employment in Donegal is in Agri-food and it is the county’s largest industrial employer. Within this, seafood processing is particularly important and Donegal is home to 32% of such jobs in Ireland.
While there were massive declines in Clothing & Textiles, it still accounts for 9% of total industrial employment. Donegal has by far the highest share in Ireland (national average is 2%). The sector has shifted from large scale manufacturing to higher value activities. At 7%, Donegal has the Western Region’s highest share working in Energy.
Author of the report, WDC Policy Analyst, Pauline White says "For Donegal residents, seafood processing, medical devices, electricity generation, fabricated metals and textiles are the largest industrial activities. Irish SMEs have a particularly strong presence. Donegal has the highest rate of self-employment in Industry in the Western Region. Strengths such as the international reputation of Donegal Tweed, the county’s strong fishing tradition and considerable renewable energy resources, influence its industrial profile."
Among Donegal’s towns, Buncrana has the highest share working in Industry where it accounts for 11% of total employment. As this data is based on where a person lives, people living in Buncrana may be commuting to work in another town or across the border.
At just 3.5% and 4.9% of total employment, Bundoran and Carndonagh have the smallest shares working in Industry among Ireland’s 200 towns and cities.
According to Tomás Ó Síocháin, CEO of the WDC, "Although Industry’s relative importance as an employer in Donegal has declined, it remains the county’s fourth largest employment sector. The nature of Donegal’s Industry has changed, with a far greater focus on high value activities based on Donegal’s strengths. Given Agri-food’s substantial role, improved competitiveness and diversification will be key to adapting to Brexit. Automation also poses a threat to some manufacturing jobs across all sectors. Upskilling for the industrial workforce, to adapt to changing skill needs as well as greater industrial diversification, should be a key priority for the county."
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