Dáil debates

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate

IDA Ireland Portfolio

3:45 pm

Photo of Pat BreenPat Breen (Clare, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I thank Deputy Deering for raising this issue. In fact, Deputy Deering has been raising this issue regularly with the Minister, Deputy Humphreys, and me at the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

I wish to emphasise that the Government is focused on doing everything possible to deliver the fairest possible spread of foreign direct investment throughout the country. Our success is evident from IDA Ireland's recent figures of 58% of foreign direct investment being outside of Dublin. Strengthening regional development is important. Carlow and the south east remain an absolute priority for my Department and IDA Ireland.

Since 2015, IDA Ireland has been working hard towards ambitious regional development targets set out in the agency strategy for the period 2015 to 2019. These include the goal of increasing investment in every region of Ireland by between 30% and 40%. IDA Ireland, to its credit, is on track to achieve that objective by the end of the year. An important instrument of IDA Ireland in its efforts to boost investment outside of the main urban areas is the regional property programme. The programme, as Deputies may be aware, is designed to ensure the ready availability of an adequate supply of marketable serviced land, office and industrial buildings in advance of demand by existing and potential client companies of the agency. Deputy Deering alluded to this as the reason MSD located in Carlow. He suggested it was because there was an advance property portfolio available for that company. The company now employs in the region of 400 to 450 people. The IDA Ireland facility in Carlow will form part of this regional property programme. It is hoped it can help to attract more investment to the county and the surrounding area.

I can inform the Dáil that the agency has acquired a 12.6 ha site at Rathnapish in Carlow town. IDA Ireland is intensively engaging with the local authority there regarding planning issues concerning access to the site. It is important to have this preliminary engagement before we put in the planning application.

My Department has been informed by the agency that a planning application is being finalised. The good news for Deputy Deering is that it is expected that the application will be submitted later on before the end of this month. It is on target for what Deputy Deering was talking about, that is to say, to have the planning in place. The normal planning process will apply, obviously, but I hope that permission would be given with all the preliminary discussions with Carlow County Council. I hope that it goes as speedily as possible.

As the Deputy will be aware from a previous briefing on the matter, IDA Ireland did not originally own land in the county for this important facility. As such, it had to acquire a site through the open market. The process associated with this purchase was lengthier than anticipated. This led to a later than planned completion date. I imagine the Deputy will understand that as well. I have every confidence that this building, once completed, will be a significant asset to Carlow in terms of attracting further multinational investment to the town and the wider region.


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