Meath not part of the ‘big plan’ for IDA investment

Guirke queries lack of visits and grants for Royal county

The IDA's lack of investment and commitment to county Meath has come under fire from Deputy Johnny Guirke. Deputy Guirke has called on the Government to commit to more visits by the IDA to county Meath.

“Over the years, Meath has had some success with IDA Job creation but recent figures on visits and grants to the county do not stack up against neighbouring counties,” he said.

However, the IDA has said companies that are investing into our regions are interested in talent, track record and infrastructure - they are not taking decisions based on county boundaries. Deputy said that since 2014, Meath has only received €482,259 in IDA client company grants compared to our neighbouring counties who have all received funding over €10 million.

“County Meath has had only thirty visits in person since 2015, and I can accept the difficult circumstances we faced this year and that’s why we only had two visits so far, but only four visits in 2019, and six in 2018 says that Meath is not part of the big plan with a total of twelve visits from IDA in three years.

“Meath has over 200,000 people living in the county, we are the biggest commuter county in the country, and as there is not enough jobs on the doorsteps of my constituents, they have to make the decision to leave the county to earn a living wage.

“In 2018 while Meath had six visits, neighbouring counties had over twenty and in 2019, Meath had four visits while our neighbouring counties had over thirty visits. This is not acceptable anymore, more needs to be done for the people of Meath.

“In some cases, where Meath is double if not treble the size of another county in population, we receive funds ten to twenty times less than them.

“I will be looking to meet with IDA Ireland to discuss a future strategy for Meath, and bring us up in line with other counties for visits and investment.”

A spokesperson for IDA said that for reasons of client confidentiality, it does not divulge details of grant aid. “Ireland is a small country competing globally for investment. Companies that are investing into our regions are interested in talent, track record and infrastructure - they are not taking decisions based on county boundaries.

“Using county by county site visit numbers to measure IDA activity is entirely reductive and demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of the patterns and complexities of foreign investment in our regions. It also does not take account of the fact that many potential investors visit more than one regional location during an itinerary here.” She said regional investment has, and continues to be a central pillar of IDA Ireland’s strategy with proven results.

“IDA Ireland developed an eSite visit offering for clients even before the Covid-19 lockdown in March. We are currently operating a ‘virtual first’ policy with itineraries now being successfully delivered remotely.

“Live, in-person itineraries will resume when travel restrictions and social distancing requirements are lifted," she concluded.

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