Thursday 22 March 2018

IDA foreign investment visits show 'two-speed economy'

Trade Minister Richard Bruton
Trade Minister Richard Bruton

Gordon Deegan

No IDA-sponsored visitors have gone to Longford so far this year and only one firm has visited Carlow, Kildare, Kerry, Leitrim, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Wexford and Wicklow, according to new figures. Dublin accounts for more than half of all visits.

Figures provided by Trade Minister Richard Bruton show the rate of IDA-sponsored visits by potential overseas investors has increased this year on 2012.

The number of IDA-sponsored visits for the first eight months of this year totalled 275, compared with 379 for all of 2012. If the visits maintain the same rate for the remainder of 2013, the IDA is on target to record 412 visits this year by overseas investors.

The figures show that Dublin accounted for 55pc, or 152, of all visits this year – however, a number of counties received little or no overseas visit by firms. Cork came second with 28 visits while Limerick had 20. Galway came in at 12 while Waterford had 13. Areas to record only two visits include Cavan, Kilkenny, Laois, Louth and Mayo.

"This analysis, which will be undertaken later this year, will take account of factors such as key trends emerging in FDI best practice internationally, Ireland's strengths in attracting FDI, any changes to the EU's State Aid rules that may be introduced in the near future and our agreed approach to regional development," Mr Bruton said.

"As Ireland competes for high-quality investments, the concept of scale is crucial. Leading global corporations require a significant population pool, access to qualified talent, world standard physical and digital infrastructure, coupled with the availability of sophisticated professional and business support services."

Fianna Fail TD Dara Calleary, who got the figures thanks to a Dail question, said they confirmed a two-speed economy in the country.

"The IDA does fantastic work, but it is responsible for creating jobs in not just specific areas, but for the entire country. Proper infrastructure has been put in place in many areas around the country, but there has not been the multinational investment anticipated," Mr Calleary added.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Mr Calleary's own constituency, Mayo, has attracted only two visits this year and this followed one last year.

Mr Calleary said: "The many Mayo people who returned home from abroad for Sunday's match only reinforces the lack of an industrial base in the county."

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