The Government has been accused of fuelling the “two-tier” economic recovery after it emerged more than half of all IDA Ireland site visits this year have been to the greater Dublin area while 10 counties have not been visited at all.
Fianna Fáil business spokesperson Billy Kelleher claimed small towns and villages are being cut off from any upswing in the economy by sub-standard regional investment.
According to figures supplied by Business Minister Heather Humphreys, in the first three months of this year IDA Ireland officials made a total of 135 site visits to scope out potential locations for foreign direct investment by firms coming to Ireland.
However, despite a repeated public emphasis on the need to spread foreign direct investment to all parts of the country, of these 135 visits, 69 were to Dublin and five more to Kildare and Meath.
The rate compares to just 10 site visits each to Cork and Galway, eight to Limerick, six to Louth, five to Waterford and Sligo, four to Clare and Laois, and three to Westmeath.
Commentating on the written Dáil response, Mr Kelleher said we have copious amounts of IDA land available for site visits outside of the greater Dublin area, yet little or no IDA site visits.
“How does the IDA expect to entice foreign investors to set up on these vacant lands when they don’t bring them to visit them? Ten out of 26 counties in the State received no visits so far this year. How is this good regional planning?
“To my mind, the IDA and the Government are failing these counties and are further exacerbating the regional imbalance between the greater Dublin area and the rest of the country,” the TD said.
“A two-tier recovery has taken hold in regional and rural Ireland. The full benefits of a growing economy have yet to be felt in small towns outside of the capital,” he said.
Over the past two years, the Government has repeatedly said that regional economic development is key to the country’s recovery strategy and that it is actively encouraging multi-national firms to base themselves outside Dublin.
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