Written Answers - Trade Missions.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 665 No. 1

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  62.  Deputy Jack Wall  Information on Jack Wall  Zoom on Jack Wall   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment  Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan   the number of people from Kildare south who took part in a recent trade visit (details supplied) in view of the importance of such missions and a recent report in a local newspaper; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36708/08]

  63.  Deputy Jack Wall  Information on Jack Wall  Zoom on Jack Wall   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment  Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan   her views on a newspaper article (details supplied) and on the sentiments expressed in the article; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36709/08]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Mary Coughlan): Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I propose to take Questions Nos. 62 and 63 together.

IDA Ireland is the agency with statutory responsibility for the attraction of foreign direct investment to Ireland and its regions. The marketing of individual areas, including Kildare, for new or expansion FDI investments and jobs is a day-to-day operational matter for the Agency. While I may give general policy directives to the Agency, I am precluded under the Acts from giving directives regarding individual undertakings or from giving preference to one area over others.

A central goal for IDA Ireland is the achievement of balanced regional development and, in line with the National Spatial Strategy, IDA Ireland is focused on delivering investments to all of the Gateway and Hub locations. In the case of County Kildare, IDA’s strategy is to promote the whole county as part of an integrated East Region. In addition, the Agency continues to work with its existing client base in an effort to get them to grow and expand their existing operations.

At present there are 25 IDA Ireland supported companies in Kildare employing 10,356 people.

In the present competitive global market, as Ireland competes for new investments at the highest end of the value chain, the concept of scale is crucial to our economic destiny. Leading corporations require a significant population of highly qualified talent, effective physical and digital infrastructure coupled with availability of sophisticated professional support services. If we are to continue being successful in realising a large proportion of our investments outside of the larger cities, all economic and social stakeholders will need to adhere to the framework [124]on which the NSS is constructed. Future thinking and action must have a regional rather than a local bias and this requires a significant change in mindset.

As regards IDA land in Kildare, I must reiterate that the management of IDA Ireland’s industrial property portfolio is a day-to-day operational matter for the Agency, as part of the statutory responsibility assigned to it by the Oireachtas and it is not a matter in which the Minister of the day has any involvement. It should be noted that IDA Ireland provides property solutions not only to its own clients but to client companies of Enterprise Ireland, who are entitled to establish in IDA owned lands and buildings.

I am informed by IDA Ireland that, at present, the Agency has lands in Monasterevin, Athy and in Castledermot. I understand that the Board of IDA approved the sale of all these lands to Kildare County Council at its Board meeting on April 9th 2003. However, this transaction was never finalised due to a failure in negotiations. IDA informs me that it is currently reviewing the future use of these lands. As part of this review, the Agency has again written to Kildare County Council to determine the Council’s interest in the acquisition of these lands.

The use to which IDA property can be put is prescribed by legislation and the disposal of property for any alternative use requires the consent of the Minister of the day. However, the Agency is always available to discuss proposals regarding availability or suitability of individual properties with Local Authorities, Enterprise Boards or Community Groups and I will be happy to consider any request for such consent should it be required. However, in this context, it must be remembered the Agency must seek to maximise the financial return to the Exchequer in disposing of such property.

I understand from Enterprise Ireland that a total of 11 people, representing five companies based in Co. Kildare, are participating in the current trade mission to China.


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