IDA rejects suggestion some counties are ignored
Figures show seven counties recorded net losses at IDA-client companies last year
Fianna Fáil jobs spokesman Dara Calleary: “Some regions are not getting their fair share of IDA jobs or site visits.” Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
A number of counties are being left behind in IDA Ireland’s efforts to increase new jobs in the multinational sector.
Last year, the best yet for the agency, IDA client companies created 7,071 net jobs, of which 4,485, or 63 per cent, were in Dublin.
But figures provided to Fianna Fáil jobs spokesman Dara Calleary by the Department for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation show that seven counties recorded net losses at IDA-client companies last year.
In response, IDA Ireland said yesterday that it could not “corral” a company to go to a particular part of the country unless it made sense for their business.
The figures provided in written Dáil replies show net losses in IDA client companies in Tipperary South (-338), Kildare (-192), Sligo (-167), Clare (-61), Westmeath (-45), Leitrim (-26) and Offaly (-5). In Laois, there was no net gain or loss of IDA job last year.
The net losses in a number of counties compare to urban centres such as Cork, which recorded net gains of 1,141, Galway (+705) and Limerick (+289). Louth was also a strong performer, with a net gain of 504.
Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton, in his Dáil reply, also noted that 55 per cent, or 180, of the 326 IDA-sponsored visits by overseas investors last year were focused on Dublin, with Longford recording no visit last year or in 2012. Eight counties – Carlow, Kildare, Kerry, Leitrim, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly and Wicklow – received only one visit by international investors last year, with Cavan, Laois and Wexford doing marginally better.
A spokesman for the IDA said yesterday: “Site visits are in no way indicative of IDA’s efforts to market a region to overseas investors or indeed of IDA’s activities in that area.
“A county-by-county breakdown of job-creation trends, as is being used here in order to undermine the IDA’s work in the regions, reveals virtually nothing about how Ireland is performing in attracting foreign direct investment.
“IDA Ireland works extremely hard to make its client companies aware of the opportunities that exist outside of Dublin.”
The IDA spokesman also noted that a large part of the agency’s efforts included working with existing companies to sustain and increase their investment. “This work is vitally important but is rarely acknowledged or picked up in these statistics.”
He noted that client companies ultimately make the decision on location, despite financial support available in certain areas.
“You cannot corral a company to go to a particular part of the country unless it will make sense for their business – particularly when the company’s alternative location may be Amsterdam, Barcelona or Munich,” he said.
Mr Calleary said he accepted the IDA couldn’t force companies to chose certain locations, “but the likes of Longford has had no site visit in 2013 and 2012, and has no prospect of inward investment as a result.”
He added: “Some regions are not getting their fair share of IDA jobs or site visits and if there is to be a fair recovery and not a two-speed recovery, more has to be done in ensuring that jobs are more evenly spread.”