Avonmore sets up two funds to help replace the jobs it cut back


The Avonmore Waterford Group has established two enterprise funds costing £7.5 million to help communities affected by the company's re-organisation programme announced last week. The group is also setting up two task forces to help secure replacement jobs for some of the 750 employees made redundant as part of the programme.

The larger fund, worth £5 million, will be equally financed by the company and the EU, through Forbairt. The money will be invested in business start-ups or in established companies.

The decision on which projects will receive investment will be based on normal commercial criteria, says the company.

The second fund is valued at £2.5 million and is financed solely by the company. It will make available finance for suitable projects with specific job creation potential.

Both funds will be under the control of a board, chaired by Mr James B Hyland, managing partner of James Hyland and company, who has "extensive senior level management and accounting experience", say the company.

The day-to-day manager of the funds will be Mr Joe Doddy of Deal Management, who is a former director of AIB Corporate Finance.

The task forces will be based in the south-east region and between Dublin and the north-east.

In addition to finding replacement jobs, the task forces will seek to encourage the development agencies to give priority to attracting industries to the affected areas. They will also help to identify suitable projects and initiatives for the enterprise funds.

Membership of the task forces will consist of representatives from State agencies, including FAS, Forbairt and the IDA. They will be joined by representatives of local authorities and the company. The chairman of the Dublin and north-east task force is the former IDA chief executive, Mr Padraic White, who holds several company directorships. The details of the other task force will be released later.

They will be able to co-opt other members from relevant organisations and undertake initiatives which they believe appropriate. Both groups are due to have their first meeting at the end of the week.

The group has also announced the establishment of two job centres in Rathfarnham, Co Dublin and Dungarvan, Co Waterford. Both areas have factories which are due to close over the next few months.

The centres, will provide support services like re-training, reskilling, re-deployment and advice on personal finance matters.

The group managing director, Mr Pat O'Neil, said he was confident replacement industries would be attracted to Dublin, the south-east and the north east.