DUE to huge job losses as a result of the Dell closure, the EU has given the mid-west special status to attract new industry, it was confirmed yesterday.
From now on any major firm locating in the mid-west will be able to get grant aid of up to 10% of the value of their investment, following a decision by the European Commission on regional investment rules.
Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation Batt O’Keeffe said the decision was made following a Government submission to the European Commission on a mid-term review of the regional aid guidelines on state aid.
He said the decision will help the enterprise agencies to create jobs in the mid-west.
Mr O’Keeffe said: “The ability of the Government’s enterprise agencies to grant-aid major investment projects in the mid-west will help us to draw firms to the region and create jobs. Our submission to the European Commission set out a strong and persuasive case for the mid-western region following the closure of the Dell manufacturing plant.
While skills base, corporation tax, language, and infrastructure are the main draws regarding investment decisions, Mr O’Keeffe said grant aid can also act as a strong incentive and add to the attractiveness of a location.
He said: “Now, for the first time since transitional arrangements ended in 2008, regional grant aid for large firms in Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary will be allowed under European Commission rules. The decision is a very welcome outcome to the hard work the Government put into the preparation of the submission to secure a concession on state aid in the mid-western region.”
Mr O’Keeffe said the decision to restore regional aid to the mid-west region went beyond the recommendation in the Report of the Mid-Western Taskforce which sought aid for a number of business parks in the region.
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