Dublin accounts for almost half of all IDA site visits
Multinationals still favouring the capital when looking to establish or expand here
The figures show that 17 of the Republic’s 26 counties received 10 or fewer foreign investment-related visits.
Close to half of all site visits made in the Republic last year by multinationals looking to set up or expand operations were to locations in Dublin.
Recently released figures show 607 IDA-assisted site visits took place in 2018, of which 269 were in the capital. This is equivalent to 44.3 per cent of all visits made during the year.
The data reveals that 17 of the Republic’s 26 counties received 10 or fewer foreign investment-related visits , with Co Wicklow attracting just one investor.
The county-by-county breakdown of IDA-assisted visits was provided to Billy Kelleher, Fianna Fáil’s spokesman on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, in response to a recent parliamentary question.
The figures show Co Cork drew the second-largest number of visitors last year after Dublin with 61 visits. It was followed by Co Galway with 54 visits. Rounding out the top five locations visited by multinationals were Limerick and Westmeath with 35 and 22 visits respectively.
Co Wicklow was bottom of the list but many other counties also failed to attract large numbers of investors. Just two site visits took place in Co Cavan and there were three apiece for counties Wexford, Roscommon and Monaghan.
Other counties to receive 10 or fewer IDA-assisted visits were Carlow, Donegal, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Leitrim, Longford, Mayo, Meath, Offaly and Tipperary.
In providing the breakdown, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys said the IDA did everything it could, whether through site visits or through direct engagement with potential clients, to encourage overseas firms to locate or expand in regional areas. She acknowledged that final investment decisions lay solely with individual companies.
IDA Ireland declined a request by The Irish Times for a county-by-county breakdown of site visits made in prior years. It said it did not provide such figures because it marketed regional gateways to foreign investors, rather than individual counties.
“Using county-by-county site visit numbers to measure IDA activity is entirely reductive and demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of the patterns and complexities of foreign investment in our regions,” said Kevin Sammon, the State body’s director of global communications.
“Ireland is a small country competing globally for investment. Companies that are investing into our regions are interested in talent, track record and infrastructure; they are not taking decisions based on county boundaries,” he added.
The lack of investments made in some counties has long been a bone of contention, with some politicians from outside of Dublin claiming there is a two-tier approach to regional job creation.
Last week , the Minister of State for Enterprise John Halligan told the Dáil that the IDA could not “force or cajole” companies investing in Ireland to locate their businesses outside Dublin or other cities.
According to its annual report, IDA Ireland delivered 113 regional investments in 2018 with 56 per cent of net new jobs created outside the capital. The past four years have seen 44,500 new foreign direct investment jobs created away from Dublin.