Dáil hears IDA may have 'stymied' jobs in a 'turf war' with Connect Ireland

Dáil hears IDA may have 'stymied' jobs in a 'turf war' with Connect Ireland
Catherine Murphy.

The IDA have been accused of stymieing jobs as part of a "turf war" with Connect Ireland, writes Elaine Loughlin of the Irish Examiner.

The Connect Ireland initiative was set up in 2012 with the aim of rewarding the diaspora and others with links to Ireland for introducing potential investors to the Irish market and promoting Ireland as a place to set up operations.

Under the scheme, which is now due to be wound up, the the connector received €1,500 per job, if the company went ahead with locating here.

However, it has been claimed that the IDA wrongly blocked a cash reward to more than 50 potential job creators.

Instead of approving the Connect Ireland reward payment, it is alleged the IDA wrongly claimed it had already been engaged with the companies involved.

Social Democrats Catherine Murphy told the Dáil that here are allegations that Connect Ireland were “possibly stymied in creating jobs by the IDA in what sounds essentially like a turf war.”

She went onto say that both sides of the dispute significantly and fundamentally differ on the numbers of jobs created

"The core issue here is that potentially jobs were lost to Ireland. There is also potential reputational damage," Ms Murphy said.

Sinn Féin's Mary-Lou McDonald also raised the issue in the Dáil.

Responding, Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor said her Department are currently drafting the terms of reference and guidelines for a review of the Connect Ireland initiative.

However she said "it is very difficult to review" because of the ongoing legal dispute between both side.

"We are hoping that IDA and Connect Ireland can come to an agreement," she said.

Speaking during Leaders Questions Ms Murphy said: “The IDA refused a significant number of connections yet on review over one third of these refusals were overturned and this suggests a serious issue with the verification process used by the IDA."

She asked the Taoiseach if either the IDA or the Department of Jobs were potentially facing a compensation bill of up to €14m which would have to be paid from public funds and if any amount had been factored into the budgets of either the IDA or the Department for such an event.

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