Funchion hits out at Kilkenny TDs
By Sam Matthews
Councillor Kathleen Funchion has criticised Kilkenny’s TDs, following the publication of new IDA figures which reveal that Kilkenny is a long way behind neighbouring counties in terms of job creation and grant aid.
The Sinn Fein councillor said it was clear that the IDA was failing the people of Kilkenny. The figures reveal that there are just three IDA-supported companies in Kilkenny, compared to 31 in neighbouring Waterford and 12 in Wexford.
The figures also show only 399 IDA-supported jobs in the city and county, compared to over 4,500 in Waterford and more than 3,000 in South Tipperary.
Cllr Funchion said that local TDs should shoulder some of the responsibility for the below par figures, which she described as ‘shocking and appalling’.
“The total amount of IDA grant aid paid to companies located in Kilkenny from 2006 to 2011 is €635,000,” she said.
“In five of the last six years, not a single cent in IDA grant aid has seen its way to Kilkenny. This compares to €18,916,232 paid to companies located in Waterford, €6,436,536 to Westmeath, €3,036,289 to Longford and €39,537,103 to Kildare.
“In terms of IDA client company visits to the city, Kilkenny again finishes bottom of the table. In 2009, the city saw two client company visits with none in 2010 and 2011. It is shameful that since this Government took office – and with a Minister in the constituency – not one single IDA client company has visited the city.”
Cllr Funchion said that the southeast was underperforming as a region, with unemployment figures far above the national average.
“It is clear from these figures that enterprise agencies are not delivering for the city,” she said.
“This is not good enough. It is incumbent on all Oireachtas members to challenge the IDA on these figures, and to demand more for the people of Kilkenny.”
At the beginning of this year Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton launched a start-up fund to encourage new business in the southeast. Other measures, such as the establishment of a university in the region, are currently underway.
Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan, who has met both Carlow and Waterford IT heads in recent weeks, has described the establishment of a southeast university as ‘critical’ to the region’s commercial progress.