IDA lashed on ‘abysmal’ jobs record

LESS public money is spent in Laois attracting multi-national backed jobs than in any other county in Ireland, and a surge in spending in 2010 led to the net loss of one job.

LESS public money is spent in Laois attracting multi-national backed jobs than in any other county in Ireland, and a surge in spending in 2010 led to the net loss of one job.

National figures released to Sinn Fein this week show that just €370,000 was spent by the IDA in Laois between 2006 and 2010. Most of the cash, almost €275,000, was spent in 2010.

Kerry was next lowest to Laois, and more money was spent in Leitrim than here. Offaly received more than €500,000 while €1.2m was spent in Carlow. The IDA spent €3m in Longford and €6m in Westmeath which are classed as midland counties. No money was spent in Laois in 2008, while 2010 was the only year when the budget exceeded three figures.

Other figures released show that the money spent in 2010 was used to save jobs. Some 74 jobs were lost in overseas companies in the three years to 2010, but just one was lost in 2010.

While there is no total for spending in 2011, it appear that cashflow has dropped again. There are now just two IDA-backed companies in Laois which employ 100 people. Last year a net 27 jobs were lost. Three jobs were created.

The IDA’s track record in trying to get companies to visit is equally poor. Last year two companies were brought to Laois, but none visited in 2010 and just one company visited in 2009.

The IDA says a company is shown three or four selected towns which can meet its requirements for skills, labour, site and/or buildings, infrastructure.

In selecting locations to show companies, the IDA says it includes locations which have been affected by closures/job losses, but it says the company makes the final decision. More than 8,000 people are signing on in Laois.

Laois/Offaly TD Brian Stanley attacked the agency.

“These worrying figures expose the abysmal track record of the IDA over recent years in their efforts to bring jobs to Laois and Offaly. The two counties also finished in the bottom three of the table in the country with the amount of IDA Grants paid,” he said.

He criticised the company visits saying 150 firms visited Dublin and 15 were brought to Westmeath.

“This is not acceptable and IDA chiefs have an obligation to explain publicly the reasons for their lack of success and abject record in both counties.

“Their performance in this constituency is absolutely appalling and is a continuation of obvious neglect and inertia on the part of IDA bosses in the area over many years. I’ve raised this with them many times over the years,” he said.

Dep Stanley said he would seek to meet the IDA to see how they would increase job numbers in Laois and Offaly.

Fine Gael TD, Charlie Flanagan, said he had raised the issue with Richard Bruton, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and with the CEO of the IDA.

“The figures are disappointing over the last number of years and I would be anxious to see improvements,” he said.