Roscommon-Galway Fianna Fáil TD, Eugene Murphy says US multinationals such as Amazon should be targeted by the Government for expansion plans into counties such as Roscommon and Galway through the use of IDA premises and lands.
Deputy Murphy was commenting after receiving a parliamentary reply from the Government which revealed that two out of every three IDA premises or lands were unoccupied at the end of 2017.
“The figures speak for themselves,” Deputy Murphy said. “The IDA are not maximising their existing stock of buildings and lands to bring well-paying jobs to rural Ireland. Of the 153 lands in the possession of the IDA, just 54 are currently in use, which is a disgrace.”
Many of these idle sites are in counties with high unemployment rates. In Athlone, 11 hectares of land are idle at the IDA Business and Technology Park in Garrycastle.
The Midlands region had the smallest increase in IDA supported jobs in 2017, and just two per cent of Foreign Direct Investment jobs nationwide are situated in the region.
The Fianna Fáil TD queried why there had not been more of an effort to attract Foreign Direct Investment to the regions which have seen a haemorrhaging of jobs during the last decade.
“The figures show that County Roscommon received €3,359,963 grant aid since 2007 but Dublin received €20 million grant aid in 2016 and Cork €13 million,” Deputy Murphy explained. “There is clearly not a level playing field and counties like Roscommon and Leitrim are only receiving the scraps from the IDA table.
“Unless this Government gets its act together, rural Ireland will continue on this downward spiral. Communities will decline and our young people will be forced to head to larger towns and cities in search of work. There needs to be a rural strategy put in place to ensure that the infrastructure is in place to attract investment and to encourage local businesses to grow.”