Trades exodus means motorway may need influx of foreign workersAugust 2, 2012 - 7:00am
There is a distinct possibility that – if the Gort to Tuam motorway proceeds next year – workers may have to be sourced from Eastern Europe because of “a massive skills drain” from Galway.
The majority of those involved in the construction industry have either emigrated or have sourced alternative employment.
It would be something of an ironic situation if building workers from Galway had to emigrate to find employment and now there is the possibility that the jobs available on the M17/M18 motorway will go to foreign workers.
The Construction Industry Federation have not ruled out this possibility and say that the numbers taking training courses with FAS have reduced considerably compared to the building boom period.
It is claimed that the Gort to Tuam motorway will employ in the region of 3,000 workers when it commences in early 2013 – although this figure is disputed by a Galway West TD.
However, Tom Parlon, Director General of the Construction Industry Federation, said that the lack of building workers was a concern and didn’t rule out the possibility of people from outside the country being brought in to carry out the project.
“It is concern as the industry has suffered very badly. It obviously grew way bigger than it ought to for an economy our size but now it is shrinking at an alarming rate and we are close to one-fifth of what it was.
“I know that one of the major multi-nationals is planning a significant expansion here and will be looking for massive numbers in both the electrical and plumbing areas.
“They have emigrated all over the world and a lot of people who lost their jobs in construction have moved into other areas or have emigrated.
“But there is no doubt about it, we have a massive skills drain from the country both in terms of individual skills and in terms of the companies that have disappeared off the face of the earth.
“The numbers training with FAS have almost depleted entirely and there is a lack of interest in construction related courses,” Mr Parlon, a former PD Minister, said.
See full story in this week's Connacht Tribune.