Wexford should soon be a priority for the IDA

By David tucker

Published 16/01/2016 | 00:00

Celtic Linen where gas will be on tap soon, hugely reducing its energy costs.
Celtic Linen where gas will be on tap soon, hugely reducing its energy costs.

IDA IRELAND, the Government agency responsible for attracting foreign direct investment, will have no excuse not to put Wexford at the top of its list for attracting Foreign Direct Investment once natural gas comes on tap and the New Ross and Enniscorthy bypasses are completed.

The IDA has just announced the highest level of employment in its client companies in its 67-year history. Total employment at overseas companies now stands at 187,056 people, the highest level on record. However, Wexford did not benefit substantially.

Over the same period, 184 jobs were created in the Model County under the Enterprise Ireland umbrella.

'In Wexford, 4,696 people are employed in the 123 companies supported by the Department of Jobs, through Enterprise Ireland. These companies created 184 additional new jobs in Wexford in 2015, an increase of four per cent on the previous year,' said Minister Paul Kehoe.

'Over 400 additional new EI jobs have been created in Wexford since the launch of the Government's Action Plan for Jobs,' he said.

The IDA said meanwhile its client companies created just under 19,000 (18,983) jobs on the ground during the year across a range of sectors, with every region of Ireland posting net gains in jobs. Net jobs were 11,833 compared to 7,131 in the same time period last year - representing a year-on-year rise of 66 per cent.

The IDA has been criticised in the past for not showing enough interest in the Model County, the excuse often given as poor accessibility and the lack of natural gas, and certainly the list of jobs created nationally under its banner last year reveal little or none of consequence in this county, according to its critics.

Former Wexford mayor Cllr George Lawlor said that with natural gas coming on tap for industry early this year, including to major employers like Celtic Linen and CocaCola, and both the Enniscorthy and New Ross bypasses under way, the IDA would have no excuse not to put Wexford at the top of its list for attracting foreign direct investment and creating jobs here.

Nationally, the latest result means that more than one-in-five private sector jobs in the economy (direct and indirect employment), are as a result of IDA-supported FDI representing a vital economic contribution by the multinational sector. The performance was produced against a background of global economic uncertainty, intense foreign competition and a changing global taxation landscape. The ability to source skilled talent was the chief driver of the performance, said the organisation - combined with Ireland's long track record of attracting global companies. Ireland's stable taxation regime has also contributed to investor confidence. IDA Ireland says the positive results are the first indication of how its new five-year strategy is performing.

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