Tiny fraction of coveted IDA created jobs in Laois as the county remains rooted to bottom of league

Despite fast growing population and ease of access to motorways the Industrial Development Authority's focus is elsewhere

By Conor Ganly

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By Conor Ganly

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news@leinsterexpress.ie

IDA Business Park Portlaoise.

Laois remains rooted to the bottom of the league for jobs created by companies brought to Ireland by the Industrial Development Authority.

There are just 115 jobs in Laois at companies with foreign links according to figures published in the Dáil this month. To put this in context there are almost 200,000 jobs nationally. As a percentage, Laois is home to just over 0.05% of jobs attracted to the IDA.

Since 2011, 61 new jobs were created but 43 jobs were lost leading to a lamentable 18 net jobs created at the handful of foreign-owned firms based in Laois. Nearly as many new jobs, 113, were created in Kilkenny last year as the total number of jobs in Laois.

Monaghan is the next worst to Laois with a total of just 137 IDA supported positions - 215 such jobs have been lost there since 2011.

Excluding Kildare, all other counties surrounding Laois are not flush with foreign jobs. Despite having a Taoiseach up to 2011 Offaly has just 929 jobs while Carlow has a totally of 802 positions despite the presence of an Institute of Techology.

The total in Kilkenny is 762 - this is will up on the 447 IDA backed jobs that existed there in 2011. North Tipperary, which includes Roscrea, is another blackspot with just 328 jobs.

In Kildare there are 10,139 jobs in firms under foreign ownership.

Westmeath is the standout midlands county for IDA jobs. There are 2,571 posts there. Two of its towns, Athlone and Mullingar benefit from being hub towns in the National Spatial Strategy. Part of Athlone, which is home to an IT, is in Roscommon where a number of IDA supported employers are based.

There are 665 IDA jobs in Lonford.

The figures were supplied to the Dáil this month by Mary Mitchell O'Connor, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. In a statement to the Leinster Express recently she said the Government is committed to increasing investment into regions outside of Dublin. Under IDA’s current strategy, “Winning - Foreign Direct Investment 2015-2019”, the Agency aims to increase the overall investment by 30% to 40% in each region.

This strategy is having a clear impact and in 2016 IDA Ireland client companies created 18,627 new jobs, with all regions showing gains. 

Last month, Minister Mitchell O’Connor welcomed announced that Aerie Pharmaceuticals Inc has entered into a lease agreement with IDA Ireland to establish a manufacturing plant in the Agency’s recently constructed advance building in Athlone. Aerie has commenced its design plan for the facility and expects to begin internal construction in 2017. The company will initially create up to 50 jobs.

"This success for the Midlands reinforces the decision to proactively build properties in advance of demand to attract foreign direct investors into regional locations. A further Advance facility in Athlone is scheduled for completion in 2018," she said.