IDA under fire from employers as mid-west misses out on new jobs

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

Of 12,605 jobs created last year in IDA-supported industry around the country, the mid-west did not get one.

Employers group IBEC called on politicians to stand up and protest at the “trickle” of industrial jobs 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 required a fresh injection of projects.

“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.”

He said the IDA needed to focus in 2006 on the positives for the region to make a renewed effort to attract high quality projects.

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

Mr Clancy said the Westpark Development in Shannon, along with other high quality locations, offered 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.

Mr Clancy said that politicians from all parties should vigorously promote the region as a location of choice for potential investment.

“It is not acceptable that elected representatives stay silent,” he said.

The Mayor of Limerick has also criticised the IDA performance in the mid-west and claimed that there had been no major jobs announcement since the Johnson & Johnson moved into Plassey Technology Park 10 years ago.

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