A ‘fair share’ of IDA jobs

 

A chara, – Fianna Fáil jobs spokesman Dara Calleary is critical of certain regions not getting their “fair share” of IDA jobs or site visits (Home News, January 20th). He appears to have no understanding of the factors influencing the locations chosen by new foreign firms coming to Ireland.

Back in the 1970s, when most new investment was in low-skill manufacturing, the IDA had little difficulty in spreading this investment around the country, as unskilled labour was ubiquitous. Nowadays, the types of jobs provided by foreign firms are much more highly-skilled, and mainly in services. These firms are attracted to larger urban centres, and especially Dublin, where adequate supplies of skilled workers and support services are available.

The National Spatial Strategy (NSS), launched in 2002, set out to develop a number of regional centres which could provide alternatives to Dublin in terms of availability of skills and service infrastructure. However, the NSS never got off the ground due, in large part, to a lack of effective support from the then Fianna Fáil government.

It was particularly undermined by Charlie McCreevy’s plans for the relocation of the central civil service, a cynical short-term vote-getting exercise which made no strategic or operational sense. Dara Calleary was a member of that government. – Is mise,

Dr PROINNSIAS

BREATHNACH,

Department of Geography,

National University of

Ireland Maynooth,

Co Kildare.