There have been a total of 14 visits by the IDA to sites in the Midlands Gateway so far this year.
However, a spokesperson for the IDA was unable to tell the Advertiser how many of those visits were to each of the three towns, Mullingar, Athlone, and Tullamore.
The query to the industrial development body arose following concerns raised at the recent meeting of traders to discuss possible positive initiatives for the future of Mullingar.
At the meeting one contributor complained that Mullingar was acting simply as a gateway to Athlone and Tullamore and was far behind them in the number of site visits.
However a spokesperson for the IDA was only able to provide figures for the three towns as a whole.
So far in 2011 there have been 14 visits, while in 2010 there was a total of 30 visits to Gateway towns.
“Critically, solutions are marketed to investors on a Gateway rather than a local basis, and investor decisions are made on the basis that Gateways are attractive to investors,” the spokesperson said in a statement to the Advertiser.
“Ultimately the client decides on which location it will visit and invest in, that best meets its requirements,” the statement continued, but noted that development in any gateway town has a ripple effect.
“The IDA promotes locations that are a good fit between the investors’ requirements and the region’s ability to deliver. In the Midlands Gateway, investments into any of the locations have a positive impact on the wider Midlands region.”
The statement listed the five criteria which investors consider when making their decisions, including the talent pool of multilingual speakers and skilled graduates, with proximity to a third level college as well as infrastructure - road and rail access, and telecoms.
The quality of life was also cited as important as well as proximity to existing companies to develop relations.
The final point relates to suitable property solutions and the statement pointed out that the IDA has in Mullingar “a landbank of available property for greenfield investment which is expected in the course to be fully occupied”.
However this is “bearing in mind that the lead-in time for decisions on new foreign direct investments can run over a period of years”.
The statement also referenced the availability of a number of privately owned property building solutions which are marketed by IDA to potential clients.
The IDA says it is “actively marketing” the Midlands Gateway to potential investors, “advising on options to meet potential overseas investor requirements in Mullingar, Athlone, and Tullamore”.