Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon/Galway Eugene Murphy has remarked that county Roscommon has only received the ‘scraps’ off the IDA’s table with an appalling lack of investment and job creation throughout the region over the last number of years.
Deputy Murphy was commenting after he received a reply to a series of parliamentary questions from the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation in relation to the level of IDA funding, job creation and employment gains in counties Roscommon and Galway from 2015 to date in 2018.
“The figures provided to me simply confirm what we already know, that county Roscommon has been left behind in terms of IDA investment and funding over the last number of years particularly when you compare the level of funding allocated to county Galway in the same time period. From 2015 to 2017 there were 2,329 new FDI jobs in Galway compared to only 134 in county Roscommon in the same time period.
“IDA financial support in the form of employment, capital, research and development, environmental and training grants are very important in terms of encouraging companies to invest in Ireland but when you look at the figures from 2015 to 2017, IDA Ireland only paid a total of €918,000 to county Roscommon compared to over €39 million paid in county Galway. A breakdown of the figures show that in 2015 County Roscommon received €733,000 in 2015, no financial support in 2016 and €185,500 in 2017 whereas county Galway received over €18million in 2015, over €13 million in 2016 and over €7 million in 2017.
“Further data shows that in county Galway in 2017 there were 17,696 people in IDA Ireland employment while in county Roscommon there were only 1,128 IDA jobs in 2017,” the Deputy stated.
The Deputy continued to highlight the serious lack of focus on county Roscommon when it comes to IDA investment.
“Unfortunately, counties such as Roscommon continue to only receive the scraps off the IDA’s table. How can a rural county like Roscommon compete with other regions in attracting foreign direct investment if the investment, funding and grants are not provided to make the county more attractive?
“I acknowledge overall CSO figures show that employment figures in the West have increased and this is most welcome but the unemployment rate in the West region is currently almost seven percent which is still higher than the State average.
“A lack of quality broadband in many parts of rural Ireland is also a major stumbling block. Companies will not move to, invest in, or support rural counties if they cannot get high quality broadband,” Deputy Murphy noted.
Deputy Murphy called on the Government to give serious consideration to counties akin to Roscommon when IDA investment is concerned.
“This Government needs to get real about job creation in rural Ireland and particularly in the west as counties like Roscommon are simply being left behind when it comes to employment gains. So many people are leaving the county in the early hours of the morning as they make the daily grinding commute to Dublin returning home late in the evening with little or no quality family time. A real, targeted plan to provide sustainable employment opportunities to vulnerable groups in accessing the jobs market like younger job seekers and women, as well as those seeking employment outside of the GDA, must be the priority for Government,” Deputy Murphy concluded.