Fine Gael’s neglect of rural Ireland continues - Murphy

Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon-Galway, Eugene Murphy says the latest county IDA information debunks the Government’s claim that it is spreading foreign direct investment jobs to all counties in a balanced fashion.

In a recent Parliamentary Question reply to Fianna Fáil from Minister Mitchell O’Connor, it was confirmed that there are 67 vacant IDA properties across the country.

Deputy Murphy says this figure is compounded by the fact that these properties are by and large located in rural towns that are yet to feel any economic recovery.

“There are a total of three vacant sites in Athlone, one in Finisklin in Sligo and two vacant sites in Roundstone in County Galway,” Deputy Murphy said.

“Unless Minister Mitchell O’Connor can convince the IDA to bring more foreign enterprises to view sites in counties outside of the Greater Dublin Area, we won’t see any of these 67 vacant properties getting new tenants any time soon.

“The facts don’t lie - nearly 50 per cent of all site visits in the first quarter of this year were in the greater Dublin Area, with a further 25 per cent to the counties of Cork, Galway and Limerick.

“There was only one IDA site visit in County Roscommon in the first quarter of 2017, only one IDA site visit in County Leitrim, zero in Longford, and just two site visits in County Sligo during the same time period.”

Deputy Murphy says foreign direct investment acts as a significant engine in the Irish economy by providing highly skilled jobs and additional indirect employment to local indigenous businesses. Failing to spread this investment across the regions is the legacy of Fine Gael’s time in government, he added.

“A two-tier recovery is going nowhere fast,” he said. “To change this will require a Minister who understands the needs of rural communities, and to date, Minister Mitchell O’Connor seems oblivious to those concerns.”

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