Frank Ryan named chair of IDA Ireland

Inward investment agency must renew focus on attracting jobs to the regions, say TDs

Frank Ryan, who recently retired as chief executive of Enterprise Ireland, was yesterday named by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton. Photograph: Frank Miller

Frank Ryan, who recently retired as chief executive of Enterprise Ireland, was yesterday named by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton. Photograph: Frank Miller

Fri, Dec 20, 2013, 01:00


Inward investment agency IDA Ireland “needs to continue to sharpen its focus” and re-examine what type of jobs it can “realistically” attract to regional areas, its chairman designate Frank Ryan has told an Oireachtas committee meeting.

Mr Ryan, who recently retired as chief executive of Enterprise Ireland, was yesterday named by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton as the IDA’s next chairman. One of his immediate tasks, Mr Ryan told the committee, was to find a replacement for Barry O’Leary, whose term as chief executive of the agency finishes next year. “I intend to focus on this issue in the coming months,” he said.

A native of Co Louth and now living in Co Meath, Mr Ryan spent 25 years with IDA Ireland, serving in North America from 1979 to 1983. He was a member of the team that successfully attracted the Intel investment to Ireland in 1989.

“Frank is uniquely positioned to oversee the increased collaboration between the multinational sector and our innovative Irish companies that is so important to our economic recovery,” Mr Bruton said.


Dublin focus
The Joint Committee for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation welcomed Mr Ryan’s appointment, but two members criticised the agency’s record on attracting inward investment to outside the capital.

“I think the regional focus of the IDA has slipped,” said Fianna Fáil jobs spokesman Dara Calleary. “We are very much entering into a two-speed economy and many of the regions are being left behind.”

Senator David Cullinane, a former member of Waterford City Council, called on the IDA to appoint a regional director for the southeast, where unemployment rates are above the national average. The Senator said he was “disappointed” by remarks made to the committee by Mr O’Leary that the IDA did not need a director in every region. Global competition for foreign direct investment has intensified since his former stint at the agency, when the IDA was “a first mover in this area”, Mr Ryan told TDs.