IDA under fire as mid-west misses out on jobs

EMPLOYERS have attacked the Industrial Development Authority’s (IDA) zero job performance in the mid-west in 2005.

Of 12,605 new jobs created in IDA-supported industry around the country, the Mid West did not get one.

IBEC Mid-West yesterday called on politicians to stand up and shout in protest at the ‘trickle’ of new industrial jobs being created in the region in recent years.

Regional IBEC president, Damien Clancy said: “It has been a number of years since we have seen a headline announcement of a major inward investment project locating in Limerick, Clare or North Tipperary delivering significant jobs.”

Mr Clancy said the region now required a fresh injection of projects.

He said: “Up to a decade ago, the mid-west was the top location in Ireland for foreign direct investment outside of Dublin.

“The benefit to the region was enormous as major employers established in the region, acting as a catalyst for the establishment of Irish companies. However, the reality is that new foreign direct investment to the mid-west slowed to a trickle in recent years.

“This region remains an excellent location for business start-up, offering solutions in terms of property, logistics, human resources and potential for research collaboration.”

Responsibility for attracting foreign direct investment to the entire mid-west region now rests with IDA as the Shannon Free Zone was taken from Shannon Development by Enterprise, Trade and Employment Minister Micheál Martin.

Mr Clancy said the Westpark Development in Shannon, along with other high quality locations offer major opportunities for the region and the IDA must now deliver for the mid-west.

“The business community is prepared to assist in this process by showcasing the success of existing multinationals in the region,” he said.

Meanwhile the IDA says the jobs outlook for Waterford looks bright for 2006.

While the region suffered a major blow with the loss of over 400 jobs at Waterford Crystal over the past 12 months, there is room for “cautious optimism” in 2006, the IDA’s regional director Brian Conroy said.

The past year was a record period for job creation and Mr Conroy said: “We are more optimistic at this point than we were previously.

“We will be working very hard to bring new industry into the region. We do recognise that there was a difficulty in Dungarvan over the past year in relation to Waterford Crystal.

“The closure of the plant was a huge blow. We are working hard with the people of Dungarvan and the south east to get new industry into the region.”

Several major infrastructural projects will improve the area’s appeal. Work is to progress soon on the motorway to Dublin and the contract has been signed for a second river crossing for Waterford city.

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