Thursday, 20 June 2019
Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters
IDA Ireland Site Visits
The final statistic cited by the Minister of State is important. Significant work has been done to reduce unemployment. As he said, the rate is now at 5.5%, which is positive. However, I am not satisfied, and I do not have adequate evidence that enough is being done. I will outline a few examples. IDA Ireland's business park in Ballinasloe, with which the Minister of State will be familiar, has two good, solid companies in Aptar and SurModics but the difficulty is substantial space is available on the site that is not being utilised. Voluntary groups are trying to apply for planning permission to build advance facilities. I am working closely with them to support them but surely IDA Ireland needs to do more to ensure advance facilities are built because they are good templates for attracting companies. The same example should be followed in Roscommon town. It is an excellent retail town that has improved significantly in recent years. It is well connected in terms of road and train infrastructure.
When we look at the figures for the west, the challenge is that Galway is doing well, and the Monksland site is doing well in County Roscommon but, outside of them, there are major challenges and gaps in what IDA Ireland is doing.I am aware that there are other agencies. I am familiar with the officials in the local enterprise office who do excellent work. Enterprise Ireland also works to support client companies. I am not satisfied and do not have enough evidence that all of the agencies support the region in which we live. I am talking, in particular, about the IDA Ireland business parks in Roscommon town and Ballinasloe. Will the Minister of State speak to IDA Ireland officials at the highest level to ensure there is a focus on and that jobs will be delivered in the region because we have a huge amount to offer in terms of quality of life?