Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster and Employment and Learning Minister, Sir Reg Empey have announced the appointment of Leslie Ross, CB, to co-ordinate the Government’s response to the situation at Quinn Insurance.
The Enterprise Minister said: “Mr Ross will co-ordinate the activities of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, the Department for Employment and Learning, Invest Northern Ireland, InterTradeIreland, and local councils in response to the problems facing Quinn Insurance.
“Leslie Ross has extensive experience in economic development, having joined the Industrial Development Board (IDB) on its formation in 1982. His expertise will be a valuable attribute in leading the inter-agency approach to help those facing redundancy.”
Looking to the medium term, Arlene Foster said: “Invest NI will work with Enterprise Ireland when this will be to our mutual benefit. Both agencies are already exploring whether funding can be secured through Europe’s Interreg IV Programme to support retraining initiatives and help the start-up of businesses in the affected area.”
The Employment and Learning Minister Sir Reg Empey said: “We must use all resources available to us to help those whose jobs have been lost and provide support and training to make finding another job more achievable. The Employment Service already has good working relationships with FÂS (Foras Áiseanna Saothair) the Republic of Ireland’s National Training Authority and they will continue to work together. Through taking a multi-agency approach to tackling this problem, we can work together to enhance the short and long-term prospects of those people affected.”
Sir Reg continued: “Over the past two years my Department has made significant progress on major employment and skills issues and has provided an effective and speedy response to the global economic downturn. The difficult economic climate has already forced us to respond quickly with targeted support to major employers. The demand–led approach to skills and training is central to the joint work we are taking forward together including the Assured Skills project focussing on helping new and expanding companies and inward investors. This is crunch time, make no mistake about it. We face a huge challenge on a global scale and we will be judged by our response to it.”
Arlene Foster added: “Quinn Insurance and the Quinn Group makes an important contribution to the Northern Ireland economy and I want to reassure workers that I will do all I can to secure the future of Quinn Insurance. I hope to meet with the Regulator early next week to discuss the various issues that were raised by Quinn employees at today’s meeting.”