Majority of sites owned by IDA are lying idle

Kilbarry Business and Technology Park

Almost two-thirds of properties owned by IDA Ireland are lying idle.

The figures were revealed to Fianna Fáil’s spokesman on Business, Enterprise, and Innovation, Billy Kelleher, in a parliamentary question.

The data showed that 98 of the 152 properties owned by the IDA nationwide are lying idle. 

The figures, which are accurate as of the end of 2018, show a regional imbalance in attracting overseas companies to Ireland, according to Mr Kelleher.

Of the 98 idle sites, there are 18 different locations in Co Cork, totalling some 323.3077 hectares.

These Cork sites include the 57.53ha Kilbarry Business and Technology Park in Blackpool, just north of Cork city centre, as well as 165.86ha of idle land in Ringaskiddy.

There are also two significant sites in Carrigtwohill in East Cork, totalling almost 76ha.

The report also shows that there are six sites in Co Donegal, including 19.33ha in Letterkenny Business and Technology Park, seven sites in Co Dublin, four sites in Co Kilkenny, and six sites in Co Leitrim.

There are two idle sites in Co Limerick, including the 71ha National Technology Park in Plassey, and 11 in Co Galway, which includes 92.4351ha in Athenry.

“The majority of these 98 properties are in places outside of Dublin and tend to be located in parts of the country that are crying out for any degree of foreign direct investment in their own community,” said Mr Kelleher.

“In my own region, Kilbarry Business and Technology Park has remained empty for many years and, all the while, an adjacent site that encompasses some 56 hectares is idle.

We keep hearing of how this Government intends on spreading regional jobs, but the reality on the ground tells us a different story.

“This is a substantial number of unused commercial properties that could be the ideal location for an overseas company, big or small, to relocate, post-Brexit. That potential must be recognised if we have any hope of it being maximised on.”

In its annual report for 2018, IDA Ireland stated that the number of people employed in IDA client companies had increased by 7% and that all regions of Ireland saw a boost.

The numbers employed in IDA Ireland clients in the west of Ireland increased by 8% and the Midlands by 14%. 

Dublin (7%), the mid-east (7%), the mid-west (6%), the south-east (7%), and the south-west (5%) all saw increases also.

Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation Heather Humphreys defended the volume of unused properties. She said it is essential to have unoccupied property in order to attract new clients.

“The availability of an adequate supply of marketable serviced land and buildings in advance of demand is a key element in the IDA’s ability to compete for mobile foreign direct investment,” said Ms Humphreys.

“That is because the availability of property solutions to potential investors allows projects to begin at an earlier date by diminishing much of the difficulties associated with land acquisition, planning, and construction.

“It remains, therefore, an important means by which the IDA can encourage and attract new investors to Ireland, particularly to the regions.”

Ms Humphreys added that it is also important to remember that the final decision as to where to invest always rests with the company concerned.

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