independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Kerry deal still clear as butter

KERRY Group enjoyed a PR boost in October after it announced that it was housing its Global Technology and Innovation Centre in Co Kildare, creating 900 jobs.

The Irish Independent reported at the time that a high-level meeting between senior ministers and executives of the food ingredients company, led by Stan McCarthy, was key to clinching the €1.25bn jobs coup.

We know that Ireland managed to beat off stiff competition from the UK and Holland to secure the deal. What we didn't know was what was offered by the Government for it.

A Freedom of Information request submitted by this newspaper to both the Department of Enterprise and Enterprise Ireland failed to shed any light.

Instead, the request was flatly rejected by the Department, and the vast majority of what was released from Enterprise Ireland was heavily redacted.

Enterprise Ireland defended its action by saying the information was commercially sensitive or that details provided by Kerry Group to the State agency was done in confidence.

So, good news on the jobs front, but the taxpayer is none the wiser as to what was promised on its behalf or how much each job costs. This government came into office promising transparency. Like many others, it seems to be much less eager for the same quality once it takes office.

Irish Independent

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