THE IDA brought no new business to Laois in the last year, despite being told to up its game in the county by the jobs Minister, a year ago this month.
The IDA brought no new companies to visit Laois as a potential for investment in 2012 while IDA supported companies created just two jobs here in the last year.In fact 23 jobs were lost, according to figures obtained in the Dáil by Sinn Fein. Enterprise Ireland supported companies created 76 jobs and lost 138 - a net loss of 83 jobs. Offaly fared a little better, but still had a net loss of two jobs during the same period.
While the number of people unemployed in the county continues to rise with 133 more people signing on compared to the same time last year.
In March of last year, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, urged the authority to refocus attention on the Midlands including Laois following a meeting with senior officials from Laois County Council, local TDs and senator, department officials, Laois Chamber and IDA representatives in his offices in Dublin.
In the Dáil last week, Sinn Fein TD, Brian Stanley, said the Government had all but forgotten Laois/Offaly when it came to job creation. He also called for the re-establishment of the sugar beet industry.
“It has been all about spin and nothing about jobs. In my own constituency of Laois/Offaly, the government has all but forgotten that we exist.
“I am proposing that the factory be re-established. Sinn Féin in government will invest €350m in the beet industry and the construction of a new bio-refinery plant in the South East with the potential to create 5,000 jobs.”
Government TD, Charlie Flanagan said the IDA should take its clients straight to Laois.
“I have impressed upon the IDA that for their itineraries, visits to Laois should take place directly from Dublin and Shannon airports, via the good motorway network rather than from Athlone and Mullingar where the road network is not as good.
“The IDA need to be more proactive. There was considerable public money poured into the business park in Portlaoise and it is under utilised.”