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Foreign firms prefer to locate within M50

LARGE swathes of the country are being ignored by foreign investors considering locating industry in Ireland.

According to figures provided by Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Minister Richard Bruton, there were no visits by potential foreign investors last year in six counties: Meath, Monaghan, Longford, Laois, Roscommon and Leitrim.

Four others fared little better with Donegal, Kerry, Kildare and Mayo registering only one IDA-sponsored visit.

A further five counties recorded less than five visits by potential investors: Carlow (4), Cavan (3), Kilkenny (3), Offaly (3) and Wexford (3).

The failure by large areas of the country to feature on IDA itineraries is in contrast to the performance of Dublin, which accounted for 52pc or 196 of the 378 visits last year.

In figures provided in a written Dail response to Fine Gael's John Deasy, the next highest amount of IDA itineraries was the 38 site visits to Cork with 30 going to Limerick, 26 to Waterford and 18 visits to Galway.

Site visits to Dublin and the cities of Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford account for 85pc of the IDA-sponsored visits this year.

This leaves 15pc in the remainder of the country with 14 visits to Clare where the Shannon Free Zone is located and 12 to Louth.

Independent TD for Roscommon South Leitrim, Denis Naughten, said yesterday that the figures "present a huge problem".

He said: "The issue is no longer about a divide between west and east of the Shannon. It is now about west and east of the M50."

He added: "Ireland is now a two-speed economy where things are thriving inside the M50 and the economy is practically dying on its feet outside."

There is often a time-lag between a visit and a decision to invest by a multinational.

Irish Independent