independent

Monday 25 March 2019

Wexford third worst in the country for IDA visits last year

Pádraig Byrne

Despite promises that projects like the M11 Enniscorthy and New Ross bypass will herald new opportunities for Wexford, recently released figures show that Co Wexford received the third fewest IDA visits of any county in Ireland last year. The purpose of the visits is to assist multinationals in setting up or expanding their operations.

While Wicklow was rock bottom of the list, just two site visits took place in Co Cavan. Wexford followed as third worst with just three visits in 2018, alongside Roscommon and Monaghan.

Meanwhile, our neighbours Carlow received more than twice as many visits with seven, Kilkenny received five and Waterford received a whopping 21 IDA visits last year.

2018 did represent a rise in IDA visits for Wexford, however, from two in 2017 up to three.

Responding to a parliamentary question from TD Billy Kelleher, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys revealed the figures immediately pointed out that 55 per cent of IDA visits took place in 'regional locations', despite the fact that close to half of all site visits made in the Republic of Ireland last year by multinationals looking to set up or expand operations were to locations in Dublin.

While 17 of the 26 counties in the Republic received less than ten foreign investment related visits, 269 of the 607 IDA assisted visits took place in Dublin.

'As I have said before, the IDA always does everything it can - whether through site visits or in direct engagement with potential clients - to encourage overseas firms to locate or expand in regional areas,' said Minister Humphreys.

'It is important to remember, however, that the final decision as to where to invest rests solely with the company concerned.'

'It is also the case that site visit activity does not necessarily reflect investment potential, as a significant proportion of all new foreign direct investment (FDI) comes from existing IDA clients already present in the country,' she added.

The Minister then stated that creating jobs in regional areas remains a 'top priority' for both the IDA and her department.

However, once again the people of Wexford will feel like the forgotten cousin as the county takes it's place towards the bottom of the list, this time accounting for just 0.2 per cent of the national figure. Deputy James Browne previously blasted the Minister over the figures saying Wexford was being 'ignored'.

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