Aontú Portlaoise representative, Úna Doogue, recently held a meeting with the IDA at which the Aontú Leader, Deputy Peadar Tóibín was also in attendance. Ms. Doogue requested a meeting with the IDA following a number of Parliamentary Questions submitted through the Aontú leader to An Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar, at the end of last year to provide a detailed overview of the levels of IDA activity and sponsorship throughout the Midlands region.

Ms. Doogue says “The purpose of the meeting was to identify how such disparities regarding IDA engagement and investment across the region might be overcome. In 2019 Westmeath received over 4.5 million euro in grant payments and Offaly benefitted from over 1 million euro, while Laois received zero. At the end of last year despite the COVID pandemic, 6 site visits occurred in Westmeath with 5 teleconferencing visits, while Laois had 1 site visit with no electronic visits.”

Ms. Doogue continued “In the past, local authorities which were more progressive in facilitating clusters of industry to emerge in the Pharma, MedTech and Technology sectors created conditions to incentivise further investment resulting in higher levels of employment. Those local authorities which allowed themselves to trail behind find it more challenging to catch up with regards to attracting inward investment”.

“The IDA indicated to us that as a result of the COVID pandemic, it is forecasted there will be a 30% reduction or more down the line in Foreign Direct Investment over the next few years which is a cause of great concern to the Irish economy. Any expectations that Laois would see an increase in Foreign Direct Investment in the near future might therefore seem optimistic at best”.

Ms. Doogue added “Not including those on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, the latest figures on the live register in Laois are close to 4,000 with youth unemployment in the county still remaining high at around 12%. While developments such as Greenfield Global Inc are to be welcomed, numbers of jobs created at the announcement phase don’t always equate to longer term, permanent employment”.

“We are urging government representatives to intervene to significantly grow the indigenous employment sector where there is a need in Laois for the creation of medium and large sized enterprises particularly in the export sector to drastically reduce the numbers on the live register”.

ENDS

Notes to Editor

Úna Doogue is the Aontú Portlaoise Representative and Parliamentary Assistant to Aontú Leader, Peadar Tóibín, TD

Email: una.doogue@oireachtas.ie; peadar.toibin@oireachtas.ie

Phone: 085 7840960

References: Parliamentary Questions 15/12/2020 questions and answers – Houses of the Oireachtas