A senior Government Minister has urged the IDA to up its game on attracting foreign companies and jobs to Laois.
Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, made the call on the State agency at unprecedented talks in his Dublin offices this week where the IDA was called to account for the fact that its invests less money in Laois job creation than any other county.
The Minister is understood to have urged the authority to refocus attention on the Midlands including Laois. He told the authority officials that Laois should be considered as an expansion location for foreign companies in Ireland. A recent example of this was PayPal which opened a second Irish base in Dundalk.
The meeting on Monday was also attended by Department officials, Frank Conlon and Mary Buckley of the IDA, local TDs and senator, Mr Peter Carey, County Manager, and Kieran Kehoe, Economic Development officer at Laois County Council. Pat Flanagan represented Laois Chamber,
Laois Offaly TD Charlie Flanagan, said the meeting was “useful and constructive”.
“A strong case was made by all those present for investment in Laois and Offaly with particular reference being made to Portlaoise. The meeting recognised that there was not a strong record of IDA assisted employment within County Laois.
“The delegation made specific reference to improved infrastructure in the Laois area in terms of social, sporting and leisure facilities” said Dep Flanagan.
Sinn Fein’s Brian Stanley welcomed the meeting because of the IDA has “an appalling record” in Laois. Dep Stanley claimed that the Minister had urged the authority to priortise the county as a location for companies that are expanding in Ireland.
He said the IDA conceded that its business Park in Portlaoise should not be off limits.
“I urged the Minister to be more flexible in this strategy and he has now agreed to consider any genuine business proposal including indigenous Irish enterprise for this site. I encourage any prospective companies looking for a suitable location for start up to consider this excellent facility,” he said.