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Has YOUR county been overlooked for foreign investment?

IDA visits can have a big impact on the spread of investment across the country. How has your home county fared?

IN CASE YOU don’t know, the Industrial Development Agency (IDA) are responsible for encouraging investment internationally into Ireland.

The body organises site visits around the country that are aimed at selling the different counties as places to do business to foreign investors.

In a parliamentary question last month, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton, outlined the number of site visits that had taken place around the country since 2009.

Here’s how they broke down: 

IDA site visits Source: TheJournal.ie

The top spot is held by Dublin, which is no surprise really, considering it is home to more than 1.2 million people (26% of Ireland’s 4.6 million population). It’s way out in front with 995 visits – more than five times as many visits as second placed Cork (195 visits).

It seems that the top four are pretty much what you might expect. Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway – Ireland’s four most populous cities – having seen 1,509 visits between them.

This amounts to almost three times the 516 visits that the rest of Ireland’s 22 countires have seen from the IDA.

ida site visit table oireachtas.ie/ Nicky Ryan/ TheJournal.ie

In total, potential investors 2,025 visits to sites around the country as IDA Ireland sponsored trips.

One county that has been punching above its weight has been Louth. The east-coast county, which has 122,897 residents, has seen 105 visits over the past five years.

In comparison, Kildare – which has a population of 210,312 – has seen only nine visits in the period. Meath – which has a population of 184,135 – has received 7 visits.

In relation to this, Minister Bruton said that the Action Plan for Jobs 2014 had a pilot programme aimed at developing enterprise in the midlands, and that this would involve regional stakeholders, Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprises Offices.

On the visits, he said:

The objective is to enhance synergies between the agencies and their client companies and build on the competitive strengths of the region to maximise the potential for job creation.

Response

In response to a query from TheJournal.ie, a spokesperson from the IDA issued a statement that:

Site visits statistics, measured over only a few months, are in no way indicative of IDA’s efforts to market a region to overseas investors.IDA Ireland is currently developing a new strategy which is due for release in  the first quarter of 2015 – this document will  contain a renewed focus on regional job creation.
The final decision on where to locate an investment ultimately resides with the client company,  despite IDA efforts and financial support available in some regional locations.
Getting a regional dispersal of employment is not about political pressure, it is about each region showcasing its advantages to the international investment community. Talking down certain regions does not help to promote these areas internationally. 

Read: That mortifying IDA interview has gone viral internationally – here are the headlines

Also: TD hits out at two-tier economy as Donegal misses out on “fair crack of the investment”

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