Fermanagh Area Plan 2007
Economy: Industry and Commerce
Fermanagh is an economically deprived area with an unemployment level of 12.2% in June 1996 and relatively low average income levels. Employment in manufacturing industry has increased in Fermanagh since 1971 from 17% of the economically active population to 19% in 1991.This increase has occurred despite the world economic recession and is indicative of the strength of home based industries. The manufacturing sector in Fermanagh reflects the dominant role of agriculture in the District with a significant element of food processing e.g. Erne Foods, Fermanagh Creameries and Unipork. There is also a number of textile and garment manufacturing firms e.g. Arkwrights in Lisnaskea and Desmond and Sons in Enniskillen and Irvinestown providing an important number of jobs. One of the best known firms in the District is Belleek Pottery which also attracts large numbers of tourists. In recognition of the importance of such firms to the local economy the Department is keen to facilitate appropriate future expansion requirements as well as encouraging the development of new businesses on suitable sites. The provision of serviced industrial sites is primarily the responsibility of the Industrial Development Board (IDB), who together with Local Enterprise Development Unit (LEDU) provide business support services in the District.
Most employment in Fermanagh is in the tertiary or service sector which includes shops, public and private offices, financial and professional services, hotels, catering and employment in tourism. The proportion of the economically active population employed in this sector has increased from 42% in 1971 to 62% in 1991.
Similar to much of Northern Ireland, office employment in Fermanagh is concentrated in the public sector and includes the offices and depots of various Government Departments, the District Council, the Western Education and Library Board, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and the Western Health and Social Services Board.
A substantial proportion of employment in the service sector in Fermanagh is concentrated in Enniskillen town centre, which contains the District's major retail facilities and many large and medium sized offices.The established centres of Irvinestown and Lisnaskea contain a range of shops and offices providing local services to their hinterlands, while most village centres cater for the day to day needs of the local population. New shopping and office development in the established town centres helps retain their vitality and viability and reinforces their existing commercial functions as well as creating new employment in locations accessible to large sections of the population.
Employment in the service sector in Fermanagh is also benefiting from recent technological change, particularly the information technology "revolution" which now allows many hi-tech industries to be more flexible in their choice of location and overcomes some ofthe economic disadvantages of peripherality.The increased potential for"back office"job creation has been evidenced recently by the creation of over 200 jobs by British Telecom in Enniskillen and the development of the Kinawley IntegratedTeleworking Enterprise (KITE).This boost to the local economy was directly linked to the introduction in 1991 of an advanced Telecommunications Service funded by the European Community in their Special Telecommunications Action for Regional Development Programme (STAR).
- To foster sustainable economic growth in an environmentally sensitive manner.
- To ensure an adequate supply of industrial and commercial land on a range of sites to provide for the needs of both expanding and new businesses in co-operation with the Industrial Development Board and other statutory agencies.
- To ensure a high standard of environmnet quality associated with industrial or commercial development.
- To ensure that the amenity of residential areas is not adversely affected by industrial or commercial development.
- To promote energy effciency in the design of insdustrial or commercial buildings and the use of renewable energy sources where possible.
- To protect the vitality and viability of established town centres.
The department's strategic and Regional Planning Policys for Industry and Commerce are currently contained in "A Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland" published in Septemeber 1993 and in Planning Policy Statement 5 Retailing and Town Centres, Published June 1996.
Area Plan Policies