Twenty-seven IDA itineraries visit Tullamore

IN 2009 there were 27 IDA itineraries brought to Tullamore. Of these 18 were first time and nine were return.

IN 2009 there were 27 IDA itineraries brought to Tullamore. Of these 18 were first time and nine were return.

By Grace O'Dea

The figure was revealed at Thursday's Tullamore Town Council meeting as part of a report on a recent meeting between a council delegation and Minister for Trade and Innovation Batt O'Keeffe.

Cllrs Molly Buckley, Sinead Dooley, Brendan Killeavy, Town Manager Declan Kirrane and Town Clerk Ruth McNally met with Minister O'Keeffe on December 15 at his offices in Kildare Street. Also present were Mary Buckley from IDA Ireland. Barry Egan from Enterprise Ireland and Seamus Chamberlain from the Department of Trade and Innovation.

At the meeting when asked why Tullamore was not benefitting more from investment Minister O'Keeffe said that the current social welfare system didn't take into account recipients skills levels.

Mary Buckley of IDA said that Tullamore remained a priority. Mr Kirrane asked that the Gateway Fund be re-introducted and the Labour Activation Fund be discussed.

The future of County Enterprise Boards was also discussed. Minister O'Keeffe said however that he had no plans to extend the community employment scheme.

The primary aim of the meeting was to get more industry for Tuallamore.

Cllr Tony McCormack said he was disappointed the way things had gone for Tullamore. He said a skills audit had been carried out by the Midlands Gateway Chamber and the IDA were familiar with that."I wonder why the IDA don't have joined up thinking. They say one thing one day and another the next."

Cllr Tommy McKeigue said while grants for starting businesses stay the same for locating in Dublin and in the midlands there will be problems. "Anywhere there are airports, that is where they'll be located, " said Cllr McKeigue adding "I am disappointed the IDA didn't give us our fair share."

"I thought the meeting was good. There was a visit to the Boston site at the end of November," said Cllr Killeavy. He said the council would want to be careful if it is not attracting companies that it becomes a shop with shops and houses and businesses going to Athlone instead. "We should give it til the summertime and see what comes up," he said referring the IDA activity.

Mr Kirrane said it was useful to meet with ministers and officials. "We have done our bit," and he concluded by urging councillors to invite the IDA to at least two meetings a year for an update on activity.