DONEGAL Deputy Charlie McConalogue has claimed today that regional imbalances in the IDA must be addressed immediately and he repeated his calls for a report into the lack of IDA investment in the North West region over the past two years.
It comes as the IDA today published figures showing a net increase of 6,570 jobs created in IDA supported companies last year. Deputy McConalogue said that while Dublin and other urban bases are benefiting, the North West region in particular continues to be ignored.
The Fianna Fáil Deputy commented, “This report shows the success of the IDA when it focuses on investment in a certain area. The IDA must be commended for supporting the creation of thousands of jobs last year, building on the years of work and investment in growing Ireland’s reputation as a hub for the high tech and pharmaceutical sectors in particular. The problem is, that it is the same areas that continue to benefit again and again, while Co Donegal and the entire North West seem to be ignored.
“Figures that Fianna Fáil received from Parliamentary Questions, the IDA sponsored only 5 site visit to Co Donegal in 2012 and the first 8 months of 2013. There was just 1 IDA visit to Co Leitrim, just 3 to Co Mayo, 4 to Co Roscommon and 5 to Co Cavan. This compares to 50 IDA visits to Limerick, 66 to Cork and 348 to Dublin. In fact, Dublin accounted for 55% of all IDA site visits in the first 8 months of last year.
“I first raised concerns about the deep inequalities in the IDAs work with the Jobs Minister Richard Bruton and IDA management a year ago. Last January, I called for a report into the lack of IDA focus on the North West region. I have repeated that call a number of times since. As the IDA plans its strategy for 2014, it is crucial that the Government now takes the need for regional fairness seriously.
“It’s proven that when the IDA focuses on investment in a certain area, that area benefits from job creation. For instance, Co Louth received 19 IDA visits between 2012 and the first 8 months of 2013. The focus on Co Louth in 2012 resulted in eBay announcing 450 jobs in Dundalk that year, among other high profile job announcements in that county. The focus must now be on ensuring a much greater focus on those areas like Co Donegal that are in desperate need of a jobs boost and have continually lost out.”
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