Seanad debates

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters

IDA Ireland Site Visits

10:30 am

Photo of Maura HopkinsMaura Hopkins (Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I also welcome the Minister of State. I want to raise the matter of the work IDA Ireland is doing in counties Roscommon and Galway. It is an issue the Minister of State is well aware of as he visited the IDA Ireland business park in Ballinasloe recently. IDA Ireland's quarterly results will be published later this morning and, therefore, it is timely to raise this issue, as my understanding is there have been no visits to Roscommon by IDA Ireland client companies so far this year and there have been just two visits to Ballinasloe. I met IDA Ireland officials last week and I was highly dissatisfied with the explanations as to why there are so few visits to counties Roscommon and Galway.

It appears Roscommon and Ballinasloe, in particular, have fallen off the radar when it comes to IDA Ireland promoting the region. Much more needs to be done to prioritise investment in Roscommon and Ballinasloe. IDA Ireland officials said clearly to me last week that regional urban centres are performing well and this is positive. We know Galway city is performing well, as is Parkmore, which is overcapacity. However, job creation needs to be stimulated in a wider area than this. A greater balance in job creation must be achieved. For example, the IDA Ireland business park in Roscommon town has 11 acres of available space. It is a town with significant potential, and I use the example of Harmac Medical Products, based in IDA Ireland's business park in Castlerea. It is a client company, which has been there for the past 20 years. It is an expanding medical device company, which has very much sewn roots in the Castlerea area. It has a dedicated workforce of approximately 300 people and it is in the process of expanding. This is a good argument to try to ensure we support investment and job creation in more of our rural towns. I say this with particular emphasis on Roscommon town and Ballinasloe.

This is not the first time I have raised this issue with the Minister of State. I have also raised it with the Taoiseach and the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Deputy Heather Humphreys. I am very clear that much more needs to be done. More jobs need to be created and delivered in our region. Opportunities are needed for young people to live, work and enjoy the great quality of life our region offers. A certain focus needs to be brought on this to ensure we see delivery of jobs, which we do not see at present.


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