IDA Ireland "has given up on many parts of the country" even though it punches above its weight in attracting investment into Ireland.
That was the claim made yesterday by Fianna Fáil jobs spokesman, Dara Calleary when commenting on new figures showing six counties did not host any IDA-sponsored visits by overseas investors for the first nine months of this year.
Figures provided to Mr Calleary and Tom Fleming TD by the Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton show the number of site visits by overseas investors increased from 272 from January to September last year to 308 for the same period this year — a jump of 13%.
Dublin continues to dominate with 60% or 184 of site visits, but Laois, Longford, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon and Wexford were bypassed.
Carlow, Cavan, Kerry, Kildare and Mayo only attracted one visit, while Donegal, Leitrim, Meath and Tipperary each had two visits.
Cork secured the second highest number of visits at 26, with 21 in Limerick and 16 in Galway.
In his formal Dáil written response, Mr Bruton said: “There are many complex factors influencing decision location making, such as the increasing preference of investors globally for cities of scale with one million plus populations, significant challenges from lower cost locations in Eastern Europe and the Far East and attractive regional aid.
“While IDA Ireland does attempt to influence the choice of location the final decision as to where to visit and ultimately where to locate is taken in all cases by the investor.”
Mr Calleary said: “I have huge admiration for the IDA. It punches considerably above its weight and does a great job for the country, but outside of Dublin, the regional spread of IDA jobs is not good. It is too thin.
“We need a strong capital, but we need strong regions as well and in the absence of a Government regional economic policy, the regional drift will continue.”
He said if the recent trend continues of Dublin accounting for the majority of IDA site visits, it will place even greater pressure on the capital’s infrastructure further increasing the cost of housing and rent in the city.
A spokesman for the IDA said yesterday: “Site visits statistics, measured over only a few months, are in no way indicative of IDA’s efforts to market a region to overseas investors.
“IDA Ireland is currently developing a new strategy which is due for release in the first quarter of 2015. This document will contain a renewed focus on regional job creation.
“The final decision on where to locate an investment ultimately resides with the client company, despite IDA efforts and financial support available in some regional locations.
“Getting a regional dispersal of employment is not about political pressure, it is about each region showcasing its advantages to the international investment community. Talking down certain regions does not help to promote these areas internationally.”
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