Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 26 January 2022
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
Strategy, Targets, Achievements and Future Progress: IDA Ireland
I thank the Chairman. I welcome Ms Buckley, Ms O’Sullivan, Mr. Curran and Mr. Shanahan to our committee here this morning. I also thank the IDA for the recent engagement I had with it and the confirmation that an advanced business solution is planned for Waterford which is very welcome news. We also had some very good IDA announcements at the end of last year which were also most welcome. I acknowledge what IDA has said about the Clonmel area which all bodes well for the south east.
I have three questions prepared here from Mr. Shanahan and I ask that he might come back to me on them, please. I congratulate him on his 2015-2019 strategy which I believe was entitled Winning: Foreign Direct Investment 2015-2019, which, it seems, the IDA has done.
On the authority’s regional goals, I welcome Mr. Shanahan’s reflection on the appropriateness of these goals, particularly in respect of regional not meaning just Dublin. It appears that the outlying areas of the Border region, the north-west midlands and the south east were relatively weak and if one strips out Cork, Limerick and Galway, I would suggest that the regional accomplishments would not look so stellar in area 1.
I would welcome more granular data on the value and income of IDA by region and sector. A recent report headline I saw showed on average salaries of €66,000 per annum which I presume catches a great deal of variation.
Third, we spoke about this briefly, I again raised the issue of technological universities, TUs. TUs will hopefully strengthen the IDA offering outside of Dublin, Cork and Limerick. I highlighted that in Waterford there are three technology gateways, the South Eastern Applied Materials Research Centre, SEAM, gateway, the Pharmaceutical & Molecular Biotechnology Research Centre, PMBRC gateway and the Walton Institute, which are all performing at a very high level. I also raised the matter of where we could have more intersection with the IDA and TUs. What additional resources and features do Mr. Shanahan and the IDA feel it needs to make this new TU branding meaningful? We may need some specifics here particularly in terms of the Border, midland and, most important to me, the south-east region? Gabhaim buíochas.