Seanad debates

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters

Regional Aid

10:30 am

Photo of Damien EnglishDamien English (Meath West, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

While it is a positive for Athy that the county is doing so well, I accept that in County Kildare, as in all counties, there are particular areas where we want to see more jobs growth and more opportunities. There is no denying that. However, when we are dealing with European state aid rules, we must fit the criteria and in this case Kildare scores too high, which is a positive in one way, but a negative when we want to secure the funding Senator Wall talks about. Thankfully, it is only one part of the funding, and it is less than 8% of possible supports to businesses that want to invest and create jobs in Athy. I have been through this with the Minister of State, Deputy Heydon, because he was also concerned.

As I have said to Senator Wall, we can work with him on a number of other supports to develop and create jobs in the area, right throughout Kildare and in Athy. We are very conscious that the situation outlined was before the census. The census will be complete this year when we have all the data and there will be a review in 2023. If the evidence has changed and is different - not according to Senator Wall's opinion, my opinion or anyone else's opinion - that will give us an argument to make a different case. That is what the Department will do, because that is our job, but we must work with the evidence and facts as they are. We cannot make them up.


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