Cowen claims Offaly has ‘fallen off the Government’s job creation agenda’

Damian Moran

Reporter:

Damian Moran

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New figures released to Fianna Fáil show there was just one IDA site visit to County Offaly by potential investors in 2013, down from three in 2012.

New figures released to Fianna Fáil show there was just one IDA site visit to County Offaly by potential investors in 2013, down from three in 2012.

Local Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen has said it is clear that Offaly is not receiving the necessary focus needed to create new jobs and attract new investment into the county.

He commented: “Offaly is clearly not on the government’s job creation agenda. Last year there were 26 jobs lost in IDA client companies in Offaly and just 21 new jobs created. The Government is not doing enough to showcase the benefits to new companies of setting up in Offaly. The midlands is not a priority for Fine Gael and Labour. There were no site visits to Laois in 2012 either and just two last year but this has not led to any new jobs created. This is compared to over 370 IDA site visits for Dublin in 2012 and 2013.

Deputy Cowen stated that there has been huge investment in Offaly over many years to build up the infrastructure in the county to help attract companies and increase job opportunities. The Laois/Offaly TD noted that this has led to almost 900 jobs in IDA client companies being supported in Offaly. However he claimed that the government no longer seems interested in trying to promote Offaly as a potential location to international firms.

“We know from experience that when the IDA turns its focus to a particular area it can have huge success and great results for the community,” Deputy Cowen commented. “ For instance Co Louth received 19 IDA visits between 2012 and the first eight months of 2013. The focus on Co Louth in 2012 resulted in eBay announcing 450 jobs in Dundalk that year, among other high profile job announcements for the county. We now need to see that focus brought to other counties including Offaly.

“The IDA is very successful at attracting valuable foreign direct investment and Ireland continually punches above its weight on the international stage. But with almost 8,700 people on the Live Register in Offaly it’s time for a greater focus on areas in desperate need of new employment opportunities,” the Laois/Offaly TD concluded.