THE IDA would do well to step into Duhallow and see how rural businesses such as Alps, which employs 500 in Millstreet, and Munster Joinery, in Ballydesmond, which has 1,000 workers on their roll book - was the opinion of Cllr Noel Buckley (FG).
At a full council meeting at County Hall on Monday, Cllr Noel Collins (Independent) put forward a motion that Cork County Council be vigilant in its efforts to ensure that the IDA Ireland continues to seek an even distribution of industrial projects across the County of Cork, with emphasis on East Cork, thus ensuring a fair growth in the state's industrial profile.
Cllr Collins said that with the closure of so many foreign industries who are more than willing to "up sticks and leave" without warning if there is a more favourable location elsewhere is a cause for concern. He said that multinationals are not loyal to anyone but their shareholders.
"We need to keep an eye on the Government and the IDA so that the multi-nationals do not take on cowboy antics," said Cllr Collins. Cllr Dermot Sheehan said that an IDA official had told him that his own constituency of West Cork was regarded as "too far west" for investment.
Cllr Timmy Collins (Ind) that if an IDA official was of the opinion that Skibbereen was too far west, then the same view must be taken of North Cork, which is devoid of any IDA office.
"The cable factory closed in Kanturk years ago, and Mary Harney at that time said she would set up a task force. Well, that was the last we heard of Mary Harney or a task force," said Cllr Collins.
Cllr Collins said he would greatly welcome the IDA to North Cork. He said for any resident in Duhallow to drive through Newmarket as the unemployment queue has bulged greatly since the recession kicked in. He said there are welders, carpenters, plumbers who are "faced with no other option but to draw the dole." "Kanturk, Newmarket, Millstreet and Charleville, we really are the forgotten constituency," said Cllr Collins. Cllr Noel Buckley (FG) said the IDA only tended to concentrate in a region where there was big surge of a population.
"West Cork and Duhallow are considered too far away. But in Millstreet, Alps has been there for 23 years and employs 500 workers. They set up in a rural area, expanded and have stayed. In Ballydesmond, there are over 1,000 workers [Munster Joinery]. The IDA should really get their house in order and take note of the rural industries which have prospered," said Cllr Noel Buckley (FG). Mayor of Cork County Kevin Murphy (FG) said that Cork was not getting its fair share of the cake.