The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, this week said the IDA had confirmed to him that it will to undertake a feasibility study to assess the possible construction of an advance factory in Castlebar in an effort to attract a new major industry to the town. Earlier this year the IDA had announced plans to build similar factories in Letterkenny, Athlone and Waterford. The absence of Castlebar from this list raised the ire of a Labour Castlebar Town Councillor, Harry Barrett who raised the issue at the March meeting of Castlebar Town Council.
Barret, speaking to the Mayo Advertiser this week, said: “I welcome the news that this study will take place, but we need to see it followed up on and the factory delivered. This is something that Castlebar badly needs and is crying out for, we need 1,000 new jobs in the town to get the town moving again and people spending in the businesses in Castlebar. I’ve been making this point for a long time now and I want to see it followed up on, if the people elect me to the county council, I’ll continue to push until we see this delivered upon.”
The timing of the news was greeted with some scepticism by Fianna Fáil TD, Dara Calleary, who accused the Taoiseach of making empty election promises.
He said this week that, “Mayo and the western region need far more than a vague promise of a feasibility study on the eve of election day. We need a firm commitment that this region will no longer be side-lined by the State’s job creation agency, the IDA.”
He continued: “We don’t need a ‘feasibility study’ to tell us that there has not been enough investment in job creation in Mayo and the west of Ireland over the past three years. Figures that I have received from the Department of Jobs and Enterprise show there were just four IDA visits to Mayo over 2012 and 2013. That compares to a total of 376 site visits in Dublin over the same two year period. These figures confirm the unacceptably low level of interest in tackling the jobs crisis in Mayo and the north-west region generally. They clearly demonstrate that this county has been side-lined for jobs investment in the past three years. While Dublin may be seeing some recovery, the jobs crisis in Mayo and across the west of Ireland is very real and it requires immediate Government attention.”