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BBC Wales's Geraint Vincent reports
The Irish economy is booming
 real 28k

Sunday, 9 January, 2000, 21:03 GMT
Welsh job-seekers head for booming Ireland

Job Centre More than 1,000 jobs in Ireland were on offer

A recruitment agency from Dublin has visited north Wales looking for people to work in the Irish republic.

The agency offered more than 1,000 jobs to people at Holyhead on Anglesey, where the unemployment rate is twice the UK average.

The port is 90 minutes away from Ireland using the latest generation of fast ferries.

Historically, the Irish have left their country in search of work - but the unemployment rate has fallen by half since 1994.

Rapid economic growth

The Irish Republic had one of the fastest growth rates in the developed world for the four years from 1994 - 1998 with an average increase of 9.4% compared to the European average of 2.5%.

Dublin Dublin has seen rapid growth in the last 10 years
The fact that Irish companies are willing to pay towards accommodation and ferry costs is an indication of how serious the Irish skills shortage is.

One quarter of Irish companies surveyed are looking for staff, a report by the Dublin-based Economic and Social Research Institute found recently.

With help from European Objective One funding, the Irish economy has continued to boom.

Thousands of vacancies in towns and cities like Dublin and Dun Laoghaire remain unfilled.

Anglesey has an unemployment rate of around 8% and its jobless workers have many of the skills needed across the Irish Sea.

Cross-water commuting

Workers from Spain and Portugal have already taken advantage of the EU employment laws to take jobs in Ireland.

Audrey Jones from Holyhead Job Centre said there were many opportunities available.

"We're looking at Dublin and Dun Laoghaire in particular because it is within commuting distance from Anglesey - just an hour and half across the Irish Sea on the ferry," said Ms Jones.

"You can get the Dart train into Dublin - it is quite feasible to commute backwards and forwards," she added.

It is thought that several dozen Welsh job seekers could head across the water in the coming months.
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See also:
12 Nov 99 |  The Economy
Irish boom draws the Welsh

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