Tuesday, 16 November 2004
Dáil Eireann Debate
128. Ms O. Mitchell asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if he has satisfied himself that the geographical spread of IDA Ireland investment is acceptable; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28350/04]
140. Ms Burton asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the proposals he has to ensure a more balanced regional approach to the promotion of employment and industrial development throughout the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28329/04]
Support for job creation and investment on a regional or local basis is a day-to-day operational matter for the industrial development agencies. The agencies promote actively all areas for new investment and jobs on an ongoing basis. IDA Ireland markets individual areas as locations for additional foreign direct investment through its network of local and overseas offices. Enterprise Ireland concentrates on the development of indigenous industries while the 35 city and county enterprise boards have primary responsibility for the regional promotion of indigenous industry in the micro-enterprise sector. Shannon Development promotes the development of the indigenous industry sector in the Shannon region on behalf of Enterprise Ireland and secures foreign direct investment in the Shannon free zone. All agencies also work with existing clients with a view to helping them expand their activities.
In tandem with the Government’s national spatial strategy and its associated gateways and hubs, all development agencies work with State agencies and others to enhance the attractiveness of individual regions. The strategy provides an important framework to achieve this objective through the prioritisation of infrastructural development in the gateway and hub locations and the development of magnets of attraction for investment. County enterprise boards co-operate actively with the south and east and Border, midlands and west regional assemblies to develop indigenous micro-enterprises throughout the regions. A particular advantage of the county enterprise board system is that it delivers dispersed economic development throughout the country. Over 30,000 jobs have been created in indigenous companies supported by the boards since their establishment in 1993.
IDA Ireland, which has statutory responsibility for providing property solutions for its own and Enterprise Ireland’s clients, is making significant investment in the provision of focused regional property solutions. The objective of this approach is to ensure that key locations have the appropriate property solutions tailored to specific sectoral targets to attract new investments. In addition, IDA Ireland is involved in long-term planning with local authorities to ensure that relevant areas are perceived by investors as having a range of locational solutions in terms of property, infrastructure, business and lifestyle services for key strategic investments.
In the context of geographical spread of foreign direct investment, IDA Ireland seeks to create 50% of all new greenfield jobs in the BMW region over the 2000-06 period. Substantial progress is being made in this regard. Since 2000, a total of 46% of all new greenfield jobs have been created in the BMW region. In 1999, prior to the start of the Government’s current national development programme, some 25% of all new greenfield jobs were locating in the region. It is encouraging to note from the 2003 annual report of IDA Ireland that 60% of all investment projects negotiated by the agency in 2003 were in regional locations outside Dublin and Cork. I am confident the strategies and policies being pursued by the development agencies together with the ongoing commitment of Government to regional development will bear fruit in terms of additional sustainable investment and jobs for the people of all regions.
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