2.3 Enterprise and Employment
2.3.1i In 1995 a survey showed that the town and catchment supported 26 businesses employing 297 people. The 1996 census showed that 1,176 of the inhabitants in the Development District were employed. This suggests that the Development District Of Fethard is heavily dependent on employment opportunities outside the District, particularly in the towns of Clonmel, Cashel and Cahir.
|Table 4 Employment Structure in
Fethard and its Catchment - 1996
|Sector||No ‘86||% ‘86||No ‘96||% ‘96|
Table 4 sets out the employment structure of residents of Fethard and its Development District 1996. These figures relate to employment of residents, wherever their jobs are located.
* Construction figures are included in ‘Other’ for both years
2.3.1ii The diminishing importance of agriculture is evident from Table 4. However, the largest employers in the town continue to be Avonmore Foods plc and Dawn Fresh Foods Ltd. These two companies employ 83 workers between them compared with 61 in 1994.
2.3.1iii The fact that these two companies are so closely linked with the agricultural sector further increases the vulnerability of the local workforce to shrinkage in the agricultural sector. Therefore it is important that the Council facilitates diversification in promoting overall employment growth.
2.3.1iv Horse breading and horse training is an important industry in the hinterland of Fethard, employing a large number of people.
2.3.1v In 1995 205 people in Fethard were self-employed which represents approx. 17% of the people employed. The Council will continue to support those working from home provided it conforms to the proper planning and development of the town.
Policy EMP.1: Employment Growth and Promotion
It is the policy of the Council to facilitate enterprise and employment, and to co-operate with other agencies including the private sector in order to provide employment opportunities.
2.3.2i Despite the decline in unemployment, the Council will continue to play a role in alleviating unemployment. To this end, the Council recognises the importance of co-operating with employment creation agencies such as Enterprise Ireland, Forbairt and the County Enterprise Board.
2.3.2iiThe Council will assist the work of these agencies through the policies set out in the Plan which are designed to facilitate the achievement of sustainable development.
Policy EMP.2 Equine Industry
The Council will support the provision of facilities in the town, which facilitate the expansion of the equine Industry.
2.3.2iii The racehorse industry makes an important contribution to the economy and the character of the town and the Development District. The Council recognises the potential economic and tourist benefits of expanding the equine industry, and the potential for expansion of ancillary services and associated commercial activities, close to and within the town centre.
Policy EMP4: Tourism
It is the policy of the Council to co-operate with the appropriate agencies in promoting tourism and securing the development of tourist based enterprises and facilities in the town.
2.3.2iv The national strategy for tourist development is based on sustainable benefits for the country as a whole.
2.3.2v Fethard and its hinterland have had only limited success in attracting tourists to date. The Council does, however, recognise the potential for significant growth in tourism and related industries. Many of the policies and objectives of the Plan have as their ultimate aim the protection and enhancement of the natural and built environments, which are such an important feature of the town, and an important element in promoting tourism.
2.3.2vi The Council has supported initiatives to improve the amenities in the town, including riverside walks, parking improvements, high quality public housing and road improvements. The Council are currently designing scheme to enhance the amenity value of the area south of the wall to the dance hall. A second environmental improvement scheme is planned for the Town Square to improve the pedestrian environment and layout of street parking.
2.3.2vii The town of Fethard has many natural attractions for recreation, leisure and tourist activities. These include the Clashawley River and associated walks, the town wall, and the attractive vistas of the distant mountains and hills. In addition, the town supports a wealth of public and private facilities including medieval buildings, Abymill Theatre, Transport Museum and the equine industry.
2.3.2viii The town could be promoted as an important tourism base for the equine industry, visitors to Slievenamon and the attractive landscapes surrounding the town. The function of the Planning Authority will be to ensure a high quality of urban environment. In addition to this the Council will be active in developing and improving suitable walks linking the major attractions in and around the town.
2.3.2ix The most important aspect of Fethard as a tourist town is the wealth of historic buildings in the town. Fethard is often described as the best-preserved medieval town in Ireland.
2.3.2x The overall aim of the Council is twofold; firstly, to improve the quality of the recreational environment for the residents in the town and the surrounding areas and secondly, to provide a wide base of activities for visitors in order to lengthen their stay in the town.
2.3.3i Live register figures are not available for the Development District of Fethard. However, at the time of the 1996 Census there were a total of 165 registered as unemployed. This is a fall of 17% on the 1986 Census where 198 persons registered as unemployed. This fall in unemployment can attributed to the buoyant economy and to the continued out-migration of younger persons to the stronger urban centres.
E1. Acquire a suitable building and develop an enterprise centre in association with the County Enterprise Board.
E2. Support the County Enterprise Board in securing buildings or lands in order to provide incubator units in the town suitable for new small businesses.