Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy has said US multinationals such as Amazon should be targeted by the Government for expansion plans into counties such as Roscommon and Galway through the targeted use of IDA premises and lands.
Deputy Murphy was commenting after receiving a parliamentary reply from the Minister to Fianna Fáil which shows that two out of every three IDA premises or lands were unoccupied at the end of 2017.
“The figures speak for themselves- 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. Some 65% have been left lying idle which is a disgrace.
“The vast majority of the sites lying idle are in counties that have high unemployment rates despite a growing economy.
“Roscommon, Mayo, and Waterford, all have a number of lands or premises that are lying unused. All three are struggling to attract employment opportunities for their people. There are over 171 hectares of unoccupied IDA lands in County Galway with a total of 5.8 hectares of idle IDA land in County Roscommon including 4.63 in Roscommon business park and 1.17 in Castlerea. We also see over 11 hectares of idle land in Athlone park, Garrycastle.
“Amazon is forging ahead with major expansion plans in Dublin with a proposed €1bn data centre in North Dublin. Amazon’s Irish subsidiary, ADSIL plans to build a 223,000 sq ft data centre in Mulhuddart but they are looking at building seven more data centres on the IDA owned site- surely the IDA should be trying to direct some of that towards the regions or counties like Roscommon,” said Deputy Murphy.
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 over many years.
“IDA Ireland paid almost €93 million in grant aid in 2016 to support employment from foreign direct investment enterprise but there was no grant aid for Counties Leitrim, Meath and Roscommon.
“These facts speak for themselves – Roscommon and large parts of rural Ireland have been largely ignored by the IDA. 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 and over €10 million to Waterford- that’s all in just one year so how can that be comparable to County Roscommon receiving just over €3 million over ten years or Leitrim receiving just €2,480,200 over ten years- there is clearly not a level playing field and counties like Roscommon and Leitrim are only receiving the scraps from the IDA table!”
“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 and yet we see further delays upon delays in the roll out of the National Broadband Plan.“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,” concluded Deputy Murphy.
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