The IDA is “negotiating with” one of three prospective investors who visited Laois in the past year, yesterday’s (Monday’s) meeting of Laois County Council heard.
Responding to criticism from virtually every councillor at the meeting, Breda O’Toole, head of regional business development at IDA Ireland said the IDA “does care about Laois”.
She added that scale does matter to the state body and they sell regions rather than counties on their own.
Ms O’Toole was roundly criticised by members of Laois County Council for not mentioning Laois on any occasion in her initial address to the council.
“We can tell you that the IDA will put a client in Laois if they want to come to Laois,” she said.
Ms O’Toole added that the input of local representatives was very important, along with that of the county managers.
“The IDA can’t sell any county or the country on its own. We need people to help us. We need people to tell us what is the uniqueness of their county.
“When we are promoting the midlands, we need to know what is the thing about Laois (that will sell it)” she said.
“We don’t sell Laois as a county, we sell Laois as part of the midlands and I will bring people everywhere,” she said.
While talks are underway with one party on possible investment, the IDA brought three firms to Laois last year which was up on previous years.
In response to the idle Avon factory in Portarlington being raised as a possible location for IDA clients by Cllr Paul Mitchell, she said she was always looking for “property solutions” and would consider any factory premises, whether it was an IDA one or not.