Thursday, 3 June 2021
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
91. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the position regarding the establishment of an advanced building solution and regional IDA science and technology park or equivalent for County Mayo to enhance the competitiveness of the county globally for inward investment and ensure balanced and sustainable job creation. [29911/21]
The timely provision of appropriate, innovative and cost-effective property and infrastructure solutions to meet the needs of multi national corporations (MNCs) that are at the forefront of the modern economy remains essential to winning FDI.
IDA Ireland’s regional property programme ensures the supply of land, buildings and infrastructure in regional locations as required by current and prospective clients of both IDA and Enterprise Ireland. A robust property and infrastructure ecosystem can be the key differentiator in winning FDI projects. Over the last 5 years, IDA Ireland’s Regional Property Programme enabled the winning of capital-intensive projects of significant scale to regional locations.
In May 2020 Meissner Filtration Products announced that their new manufacturing facility in Co. Mayo was operational, following the announcement in February 2019 that Meissner would expand its manufacturing operations in Castlebar creating 150 jobs over 5 years. Meissner established in an IDA Ireland constructed Advanced Manufacturing Building completed in late 2018.
I am advised that the locations in which IDA Ireland will provide property solutions over the lifetime of its new strategy “Driving Recovery & 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 (ABS) to regional locations, including one in Mayo. 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.
IDA Ireland will also partner with Local Authorities and the private sector to deliver additional buildings in key locations where appropriate.
In each region, IDA Ireland will invest in significant infrastructure projects across its portfolio of Business and Technology Parks to upgrade and maintain these key assets in line with the evolving requirements of IDA Ireland and EI clients. IDA Ireland will also maintain a focus on land banks and utility intensive strategic sites to future proof its property portfolio to support the project pipeline, most notably large-scale capital-intensive projects which can have significant regional and national economic impacts. Additional upgrade works, and investment are planned for IDA Ireland Parks in the West region and IDA Ireland is currently engaged with Mayo County Council to progress a partnership to develop additional business park and strategic lands for future development.
IDA’s new strategy 2021-2024 ‘Driving Recovery and Sustainable Growth’ has been developed in the context of the Government’s National Economic Plan. This strategy positions IDA to respond to the emerging trends that are accelerating as a result of the Covid-19 global pandemic. It identifies the opportunities for sustainable growth among IDA’s established base of clients through a focus on transformative investments to increase the productivity of Irish operations and their workforce through RD&I, digitisation, training and actions on sustainability. Crucially it also maintains a focus on attracting the next generation of leading MNCs to locate in Ireland, further driving sustainable growth and maximising the impact of FDI in Ireland to 2024 and beyond.
The new strategy will be delivered through a focus on five pillars: Growth, Transformation, Regions, Sustainability and Impact. These five interlinked pillars align with and are guided by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
There are 44 IDA client companies in the Midlands region, employing 6,308 people. The FDI performance in the region has been strong over the past five years with employment among IDA clients increasing by 35%. The region has an impressive range of companies across all industry sectors, with particular strengths in Life Sciences, Technology, Global Business Services, International Financial Services, and Engineering & Industrial Technologies. The Midlands includes the regional growth centre of Athlone. The existing FDI base of client companies in the region continues to perform well in terms of their operational sustainability, job retention and ongoing transformation.
The announcement that Athlone Institute of Technology is to form a consortium with Limerick Institute of Technology to develop a new technological university (TU) for the Midlands and Mid-West will further strengthen the potential of the region.
IDA will continue to work closely with the private sector in the Midlands to secure the provision of appropriate and cost-effective building and property solutions for client companies.
In the new strategy, IDA will build on the strengths and competencies of the region with a particular focus on high value manufacturing, services and RD&I opportunities. Emerging technology trends have and will continue to create new opportunities across the region in areas such as data analytics, cybersecurity and smart manufacturing.
IDA will deliver Advanced Building Solutions in Athlone, Longford and Mullingar over 2021-2024. In addition, IDA has partnered with Offaly County Council to secure planning permission for an Advanced Technology Building in Tullamore. IDA plans to acquire additional strategic sites in the region for development and will progress or commence upgrade works at IDA Parks in Athlone, Mullingar and Tullamore.
IDA will target 25 investmentsfor the Midlands region in the period 2021 to 2024.