By Harry Keaney
With the Irish economy at its strongest ever, this may be best time in history for Irish immigrants with the right skills and experience to return home — for good.
That’s the message immigrants awaiting immigrants returning to Ireland for vacation this Christmas.
Staff from Fás, the state training and recruiting agency, will be spreading the word at airports as part of the Jobs Ireland campaign.
"We have two kiosks at Dublin airport and our people there will be giving out information about the scheme to people returning home for the Christmas period," Fás spokesman Greg Craig said.
"Our message is a simple one. We’re just saying to people, now that you’re home for Christmas, why not stay home?
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The aim of the Jobs Ireland campaign is to attract foreign-based workers to take up employment in the Celtic Tiger economy. By next September, it is expected that at least 10,000 Irish people will have returned to take up jobs in Ireland.
A special Jobs Ireland website, www.fas-ireland.com, established last September has already logged more than 300,000 hits. And 2,500 Irish immigrant workers who hope to return home have e-mailed the site with their resumes.
Craig pointed out that since 1992, Ireland has had record job creation, with the number of people at work having risen by 486,000 to 1,669,000. Unemployment has fallen from 15.7 percent in 1993 to just more than 5 percent today.
The Irish Business Organization of New York will hold a breakfast meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 28, at 8 a.m. in the Mezze Restaurant, on 44th Street, between Madison and Fifth Avenues. The organization will also hold a breakfast meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 5, at 8 a.m. in the Grasshopper, in Carlstadt, 646 Washington Ave., Rte. 20 North, in New Jersey. For details, call Bill Buckley at (212) 627-2111 or John Corkery at (201) 796-2571.
A major office and apartment scheme is being planned for Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, in Dublin. Haytonvale Developments hope to build 115 apartments, more than 250,000 square feet of office space and parking for 270 cars.
In Darndale, in Dublin, construction is starting on a £7 million village center that will become a new focal point for the area.
Xerox Europe is to invest a further £34 million in its Irish operations, which will lead to 600 new jobs, 420 of them in Dublin and 180 in Dundalk. By 2003, the company’s workforce in Dundalk is expected to be 2,100 and 2,000 in Dublin. Xerox’s 110-acre technology park at Dundalk, which is under construction and due to be completed in mid-2000, will be one of the company’s three manufacturing facilities in Europe. Xerox’s headquarters are based in Stamford, Conn.
With Christmas and millennium celebrations planned all over Ireland, gardaí are stepping up their campaign for safety on the roads. Last weekend, five people were killed in road accidents. Almost 400 people have lost their lives on Irish roads this year.