Wednesday, 15 September 2021
Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions
The Tánaiste may recall a commitment in IDA Ireland's capital investment strategy to establish an additional advance building solution in regional locations, including one in County Mayo. I seek an update on the progress in making these plans a reality and where in Mayo this will be located.
I thank the Deputy for his question. The locations in which IDA Ireland will provide property solutions over the lifetime of its new strategy, Driving Recovery and Sustainable Growth 2021-2024, were chosen based on extensive analysis, engagement, review and consultation, as well as macroeconomic considerations, existing clusters and available resources.
IDA Ireland will deliver 19 advanced building solutions to regional locations. As the Deputy is aware, IDA Ireland is committed to building an advanced building solution in Castlebar as part of the implementation of its new strategy. I am advised it has commenced the process of evaluating suitable site options in Castlebar.
The national capital investment plans outlined in the new IDA Ireland strategy, subject to planning permission and public procurement process, are expected to commence and be delivered within the term of the new strategy at all identified locations.
Over the past five years, IDA Ireland’s regional property programme enabled the winning of capital-intensive projects of significant scale in regional locations.
In May 2020, Meissner Filtration Products announced that its new manufacturing facility in County Mayo is now operational following the announcement in February 2019 that it would expand its manufacturing operations in Castlebar, creating 150 jobs over five years. Meissner established the facility in an IDA Ireland-constructed advanced manufacturing building, which was completed in late 2018.
I thank the Minister of State for his reply. The use of these advanced building solutions by IDA Ireland is critical in levelling the playing field for regional locations such as Mayo. The construction of high-spec commercial infrastructure greatly increases our attractiveness for inward investment. I am conscious that some companies have delayed on-site visits due to public health restrictions over the past 18 months. We must ensure progress in making plans for these facilities to maximise the desired inward investment. I am glad the Minister of State referred to the enormous success of the existing IDA Ireland facility in Castlebar, now occupied by Meissner.
Mayo has a lot going for it. Our road infrastructure is currently being primed. More than €500 million has been invested in the N5 and the Ballaghaderreen to Scramoge road. These IDA Ireland facilities create and excitement and confidence. We are eager to get moving on the next one for our county.
I agree wholeheartedly with the Deputy regarding regional development and the importance of investment in the regions to ensure we attract foreign direct investment, FDI. That is why IDA Ireland's new strategy, Driving Recovery and Sustainable Growth 2021-2024, aims to ensure that FDI can make a significant contribution to the recovery and future growth of the economy. Regional development is at the very heart of the agency's strategy. There is a commitment to more balanced compact regional development, which can help to advance national development. Under the regional development pillar, IDA Ireland aims to win investment to propel recovery and support development in each region. For the first time we have set a target of 50%, which is 400, of the investments in regional locations by the end of 2024. Of that 400, there is a target of 76 for the western region. There is a target to build advanced building solutions in Mayo and Galway as part of the new strategy between 2021 and 2024.
We need a timeline for this exciting new project for County Mayo. I hope that IDA Ireland will engage with the new chief executive of Mayo County Council on the development of industrial lands. The county council has acquired 149 acres. This would be very important in how we strategically develop inward investment and also for the strategic development zones at Ireland West Airport Knock and at the IDA Ireland lands in Ballina.
I re-emphasise the importance of IDA Ireland putting the advanced building solutions into motion, as well as considering future projects for the county to maximise inward investment. Job creation will always be the driver for balanced regional development. I hope this project can move as swiftly as possible.
I agree wholeheartedly. In 2021, IDA Ireland allocated an additional €10 million for its regional property programme. That is an acknowledgment of the importance of investment in the regions to ensure they can attract foreign direct investment. Recently I met Denis Curran, the director of regional development with IDA Ireland specifically to discuss Mayo. He is committed to working with the chief executive of Mayo County Council to ensure that Mayo gets its fair share.
I know the Deputy has been to the fore in highlighting this issue, as has his constituency colleague, Deputy Calleary. It is a commitment in the plan for 2021 to 2024 and it will be delivered.